The Boy Scouts of America have reached an $850 million agreement with attorneys representing some 60,000 victims of child sex abuse in what could prove to be a pivotal moment in the organization’s bankruptcy case, the AP reports. The settlement would mark one of the largest sums in US history involving cases of sexual abuse. Attorneys for the BSA filed court papers late Thursday outlining a restructuring support agreement with attorneys representing abuse victims. The agreement also includes attorneys representing local Boy Scouts councils and lawyers appointed to represent victims who might file future claims. "After months of intensive negotiations, the debtors have reached resolution with every single official and major creditor constituency in these Chapter 11 cases," BSA attorneys wrote.
The Boy Scouts of America, based in Irving, Texas, sought bankruptcy protection in February 2020, moving to halt hundreds of lawsuits and create a compensation fund for men who were molested as youngsters decades ago by scoutmasters or other leaders. But BSA attorneys have been unable to get attorneys for victims, the BSA’s local councils and sponsoring organizations, and insurers to agree on a global resolution that would compensate abuse victims while allowing the 111-year-old organization to continue operating. The agreement signals the BSA’s acknowledgment that the gulf between attorneys representing abuse victims and those representing the BSA’s insurers is currently too broad to be resolved. They may very well be left to resolve their differences in future court battles, a prospect that the BSA had sought to avoid. A hearing in the case is schedule for July 20. (Much, much more on what this all means here.)