What the Boys Scouts bankruptcy means for New York

Eagle patch and merit badge sash on Boy Scouts of America uniform.
Eagle patch and merit badge sash on Boy Scouts of America uniform.
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What the Boys Scouts bankruptcy means for New York

Local scouting councils may be targeted, though their operations continue as usual for now.
February 20, 2020

As the Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday in the wake of hundreds of child sexual abuse lawsuits, its local affiliates and local scouting councils in New York may be at risk, USA Today reports. 

Leaders from several of the 15 local scouting councils in New York – which are independently run – made clear they would continue their day-to-day operations, and that they haven’t filed for bankruptcy. But that protection may not last. Lawyers representing clients suing the nonprofit say that those councils, which account for most of the organization’s wealth, could be used as an asset in the national organization’s proceedings, as they could sell off properties to pay off their fees. 

The Boy Scouts aims to put a freeze on the pending lawsuits, many of which came as a result of states like New York expanding or eliminating the statute of limitations on cases related to child sex abuse. The organization faces 78 cases in New York alone as a result of its law known as the Child Victims Act, which has also led to the bankruptcy of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester. Financial difficulties and logistical challenges related to the law have hit a number of nonprofits, schools and other institutions throughout the state, however.

The Boy Scouts will set up a victims’ compensation trust as well, with national chairman Jim Turley arguing in an open letter that it would be a more effective way of delivering justice than settling each individual lawsuit separately. But some attorneys remain concerned that victims would no longer be able to tell their stories. 

NYN Media reporter Kay Dervesh
Kay Dervishi
is a staff reporter at NYN Media.
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