December 12, 2018; Wall Street Journal
Late last week, NPQ wrote about the bankruptcy filing by USA Gymnastics in the wake of all the charges around its complicity in the sexual abuse scandal and subsequent coverup. A lawyer for those who were abused characterized it as a tactic to stall pending lawsuits. Yesterday, it emerged that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) are also looking to declare bankruptcy, and for a similar reason. That organization also has lawsuits pending for sexual abuse of scouts, and the organization could request that the suits be halted while it goes through a reorganization. This, some speculate, would give the group some leverage in settling the suits.
BSA Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh issued the now pat and predictable statement of “concern” and commitment to compensation for “victims who suffered abuse during their time in Scouting.”
“We care deeply about all victims of child sex abuse and we are steadfast in our belief that one incident of child abuse is one too many,” Surbaugh writes. “We sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in our programs.”
“We have a social and moral responsibility to fairly compensate victims who suffered abuse during their time in Scouting, and we also have an obligation to carry out our mission to serve youth, families and local communities through our programs,” Surbaugh continued.
Here is an excerpt from the statement of USAG’s recently elected board chair, Kathryn Carson, in case you need another of the same ilk:
We owe it to the survivors to resolve, fully and finally, claims based on the horrific acts of the past and, through this process, seek to expedite resolution and help them move forward…The Chapter 11 filing and the expedited resolution of these claims are critical first steps in rebuilding the community’s trust…the filing will allow us to continue the important work of supporting our outstanding gymnasts at all levels, including the current and next generation of Olympic hopefuls.
Meanwhile, due to a slump in membership, the Boy Scouts has recently begun recruitment of girls as scouts in their organization, resulting in a separate suit filed by the Girl Scouts, alleging trademark infringement.—Ruth McCambridge