Once known as a safe after-school program parents could send their children to, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has recently filed for bankruptcy after facing multiple sex-abuse lawsuits. In light of these victims coming forward with their traumatic experiences, the BSA’s reputation has been irreparably tarnished. Although the organization itself may not have been aware of these instances of sexual abuse perpetrated by the scoutmasters of that time, the organization still has a responsibility to compensate their victims.
BSA attempted to both keep their business and make amends with the victims simultaneously by filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. The decision to file Chapter 11 Bankruptcy was a smart legal tactic to maintain the BSA’s business, but it reveals their cowardice and unwillingness to compensate every victim, and it places victims under an intense time constraint.
Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows victims to come forward with sexual abuse allegations and, in turn, receive some form of repayment. However, they must adhere to a “claims bar date,” which is a specific deadline in which victims must come forward with allegations. If the victim were to forget the deadline, or was unaware of this option, then they would miss the opportunity to be compensated. They could still freely accuse BSA leadership, but receiving any kind of atonement past the claims bar date is unlikely.
The public has every right to find the BSA scout masters untrustworthy and unreliable as role models for children. Despite them offering to have more thorough background checks on scoutmasters, there is no way to be certain that after hiring them they won’t commit the same crimes that were hidden from the public for decades.
Unfortunately, the future of the BSA will not be looked upon the same as it was before. While Chapter 11 Bankruptcy allows the BSA to sustain their business, their reputation will be forever damaged. The continuation of this organization also seems unlikely. Parents are less likely to send their children to an organization with thousands of victims who wish to file sex allegations against them.
Bouncing back from the fact that 12,000 children were sexually abused in the organization alone already leaves a cavernous scar for their business. To make matters worse, if their intentions are to simply maintain their business, they contradict their core values as the Boy Scouts of America.