A a $2.46 billion reorganization plan proposed by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) was approved by bankruptcy Judge Laurie Selber Silverstein in Delaware. The plan would allow the organization to keep operating while compensating tens of thousands of men who say they were sexually abused as children while involved in scouting. The Scouts sought bankruptcy protection more than two years ago to stave off a flood of lawsuits alleging child sexual abuse by Scout leaders and volunteers. The plan calls for BSA and its local councils, along with insurance companies and troop sponsors, including Catholic institutions and parishes, to contribute to a fund for survivors, according to the Associated Press. In return, those groups would be shielded from future lawsuits over Scout-related abuse allegations. “Credit to the courageous survivors that this breakthrough in child and scouting safety has been achieved,” said attorney Jeff Anderson, whose firm represented more than 800 Boy Scout abuse survivors.
Anderson said most of the $2.46 billion would be paid to survivors, but some funds would be set aside to continue litigation against entities that have not settled, mainly insurance companies. The settlement has drawn mixed reactions. Some victims were proud to take a stand, while otherscomplained that the organization “hid behind the statute of limitations” in some states. BSA said it is pleased the court has approved its reorganization. The organization will begin an appeal process in order to emerge from Chapter 11, “which will allow survivors to be equitably compensated and preserve the mission of Scouting for future generations.” BSA faced about 275 lawsuits when it first filed for bankruptcy. More than 80,000 abuse claims ended up being filed. Attorneys for BSA insurers argued that the sheer volume of claims was an indication of fraud and the result of aggressive client solicitation by attorneys and for-profit claims aggregators. Some insurers argued that the procedures for distributing funds would violate their contractual rights to contest claims and set a dangerous precedent for mass litigation.