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Over 90,000 Sexual Assault Charges Filed In Boy Scouts Bankruptcy Case

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Over 90,000 Sexual Assault Charges Filed In Boy Scouts Bankruptcy Case

Boy Scouts Bankruptcy

Almost 90,000 sexual abuse claims have been filed against the Boy Scouts of America as the deadline of Monday for filing claims in the bankruptcy case of the organization has come.

This far exceeds the initial projections of lawyers across the US who have signed up to clients since the Boy Scouts filed for bankruptcy protection in February, following hundreds of lawsuits alleging decades-old sex abuse by Scout leaders.

Paul Mones, a lawyer who has worked on Boy Scouts cases for almost two decades, said to AFP, “It is by far the biggest sexual abuse scandal in the U.S.,” adding that scouting has long offered a “perfect petri dish” for pedophiles: “boys have taken the oath of loyalty, they are away from their parents, in the wilderness.”

Press TV reports: “We are devastated by the number of lives that have been affected by past Scouting abuses and moved by the bravery of those who have come forward the Boy Scouts said in a statement. “We’re torn to the core because we can’t erase their suffering.”

A couple of hours before the 5 p.m. EST deadline, the total number of claimants was 88,500, lawyers said.

Eventually, proceedings in the Federal Bankruptcy Court will lead to the creation of a compensation fund to pay settlements to abuse survivors whose claims are upheld.

The potential size of the fund is not yet known and will be the subject of complicated negotiations. The national association is expected to contribute a large portion of its funds, including capital investment and real estate. Boy Scouts’ insurers will also donate, as will the Boy Scouts’ nearly 260 local councils and organizations that have insured them in the past.

Andrew Van Arsdale, a lawyer with a network called Abused in Scouting, said about 16,000 applicants had signed up. He said that the number doubled after the Boy Scouts, under the supervision of a bankruptcy judge, launched a nationwide publicity campaign on August 31 to inform the victims that they had until November 16 to seek compensation.

“Millions have been spent trying to persuade people to come forward,” Van Arsdale said. “The question now is whether they can make good on their commitment.”

The Boy Scouts said that it “intended to develop an open, accessible process to reach out to survivors and help them take an essential step towards receiving compensation.”

“The response we saw from the survivors was intrusive,” the organization added. “We’re deeply sorry about that.”

Insolvency has been traumatic for the 110-year-old Boy Scout, who has been a cornerstone of American civic life for decades. Its finances have also been strained by child abuse settlements and dwindling membership—now fewer than 2 million from a high of more than 4 million in the 1970s.

Many of the unresolved sexual assault claims date back to the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s when the Boy Scouts implemented criminal background checks, abuse awareness instruction for both staff and volunteers, and a requirement that two or more adult representatives must be present during events.

Among the contentious issues still to be addressed in the bankruptcy case is the extent to which the local councils of Boy Scouts are contributing to the compensation fund.

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