Bankruptcy claims date set for Boy Scouts child sex victims

Bankruptcy claims date set for Boy Scouts child sex victims

DOVER, Del. — Attorneys have agreed on a November deadline for victims of child sex abuse to file claims in the Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy case.

The Nov. 16 date presented to a judge Monday was worked out after attorneys for the official committee representing abuse victims objected to a proposed Oct. 6 deadline and argued that victims should have at least until Dec. 31.

“At a time when millions of Americans are unemployed and preoccupied with basic survival, sexual abuse survivors need and are entitled to a reasonable period of time after they receive notice from the bankruptcy Court to reflect seriously and make a decision whether to file a claim in this case,” attorneys for the victims committee wrote in a court filing.

After filing for bankruptcy, the Boy Scouts initially proposed a deadline of 80 days after notice of the claims process was published, drawing immediate opposition from attorneys for abuse victims. The Boy Scouts later proposed the October deadline. They argued that it allowed more time than in many Catholic diocese bankruptcy cases, and that it provided sufficient time to conduct a nationwide program of print, television, radio and online notices and allow claimants to submit claim forms.

Jessica Boelter, an attorney for the Boy Scouts, said the notification program is expected to reach more than 100 million people, including more than 95% of the primary target audience of men 50 and older. An expert for the Boy Scouts estimated that men in that age group account for more than half of former Boy Scouts and at least 71% of abuse survivors with pending claims against the BSA.

The Boy Scouts sought bankruptcy protection in February in an effort to halt hundreds of individual lawsuits and create a huge compensation fund for men who were molested as youngsters decades ago by scoutmasters or other leaders.

More than 12,000 boys have been molested by 7,800 abusers since the 1920s, according to Boy Scout files revealed in court papers. Most of the more recent cases date to the 1960s, ’70s and ‘80s, before the Boy Scouts adopted mandatory criminal background checks and abuse-prevention training and protocols for all staff and volunteers.

In conjunction with the bankruptcy case, the Boy Scouts obtained an injunction halting lawsuits against the organization’s 261 local councils as “related parties.” The local councils, which run day-to-day operations for local troops, are not listed as debtors in the bankruptcy and are considered by the Boy Scouts to be legally separate entities. Attorneys for abuse victims have nevertheless made clear that they will try to go after campsites and other properties owned by the local councils to contribute to the fund for victims.

The injunction does not prevent litigation going forward against individual alleged abusers. It also does not prevent the filing of complaints against BSA-related parties while the stay is in place. The injunction had been set to expire Monday, but Judge Laurie Selber Silverstein agreed to extend it to June 8, which coincides with a scheduled court hearing.

Meanwhile, attorneys argued at length Monday over the bankruptcy claim form that child sex abuse victims will have to fill out. The form proposed by the Boy Scouts includes boxes to check for describing the nature and impact of the abuse. It also includes narrative sections asking a claimant, for example, to describe the sexual abuse, and the harm it caused, “in as much detail as you can recall.”

Silverstein agreed with victims’ attorneys that the narrative information should be made optional on the initial proof of claim form.

Jon Conte, a child sex abuse expert hired by the victims committee, told Silverstein that it would be better to ask for summary information initially, while letting the claimant know that more detail might be requested later.

“A narrative is potentially traumatic,” Conte said.

Attorneys for the victims also took exception to the form allowing sexual abuse claims involving nonconsenting adult Scouting participants. Boelter noted that some Boy Scout programs allow participants up to age 21.

“We are not trying to diminish child sexual abuse in any way by including adults in this proof of claim form,” she said.

Silverstein said she would allow attorneys time to work out a solution for handling sexual abuse claims by adult victims.

Randall Chase, The Associated Press

Boy Scouts sexual abuse

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

robbery
UPDATE: Shooting suspect arrested by Wetaskiwin/Camrose RCMP

Rimbey RCMP had responded to a complaint of an armed robbery at the Bluffton City General Store

Quality Inn & Suites in Rimbey. Photo Submitted
Rimbey hotel gets new lease on life

The Quality Inn & Suites in Rimbey is now open and taking bookings

Leanne Evans, Rimbey Neighbourhood Place Program Coordinator, accepts a donation of $5,000 from Kevin Maxwell manager of Field Support for Telus. (Photo Submitted)
Rimbey Neighbourhood Place making big changes behind the scenes

Rimbey Neighbourhood Place recently recieved a $5,000 donation from Telus

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw updates media on the Covid-19 situation in Edmonton on Friday March 20, 2020. nbsp;Alberta is reporting it's highest daily number of COVID-19 cases, with 364 new infections. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta confirmed 323 COVID-19 cases Tuesday

Central zone active cases at 145

Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the chief medical officer of health, receive flu shot. Photo via Government of Alberta
COVID-19: One more death in central zone

Ponoka County on province’s watchlist

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives for an announcement at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020.	Kenney is isolating at home after one of his ministers tested positive for COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Alberta premier tests negative for COVID-19 but will isolate for a week

Kenney said he will isolate until Oct. 29 and, in the meantime, work from home

ACC President and CEO Ken Kolby spoke to Ponoka Chamber of Commerce members over Zoom on Oct. 20. (Image: screenshot)
Alberta chambers are ‘411’ to members, government: ACC president

Changes to government supports, second wave and snap election

Smartphone showing various applications to social media services and Google. (Pixabay photo)
National media calling for level playing field with Google, Facebook

In Canada, Google and Facebook control 80 per cent of all online advertising revenues

RCMP. (Black Press File Photo)
Calgary man dies in two-vehicle collision near Sylvan Lake

A semi truck collided with a SUV just east of Hwy. 781 on Hwy 11.

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Alberta's provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Monday, July 6, 2020. Advisers are reportedly recommending Alberta's kindergarten to Grade 4 arts and social studies curriculum remove all references to residential schools because it's "too sad" for young children. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Advisers suggest Alberta students not learn about residential schools before Grade 4

Documents suggest children younger than Grade 4 are too emotionally vulnerable to learn about residential schools

File photo
RCMP’s response to online discussions about anti-racism demonstrations

Ponoka RCMP Staff Sgt.’s comments misattributed online

Most Read