© 2024 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Amid A Flood Of Sex Abuse Lawsuits, Boy Scouts of America Files For Bankruptcy

A statue stands outside the Boys Scouts of America headquarters in Irving, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
A statue stands outside the Boys Scouts of America headquarters in Irving, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy after years of declining enrollment and mounting allegations of widespread sexual abuse. Is this the death knell for the organization?


Cara Kelly, reporter on USA Today’s investigations team. She’s been covering the Boy Scouts and allegations of child sexual abuse in the organization. (@CaraReports)

Marci Hamilton, professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Founder and CEO of CHILD USA, a nonprofit think tank dedicated to preventing child abuse and neglect. (@Marci_Hamilton)

Alvin Townley, former Eagle Scout. Author of “Legacy of Honor: The Values and Influence of America’s Eagle Scouts” and “Spirit of Adventure: Eagle Scouts and the Making of America’s Future.” (@AlvinTownley)

Dr. Randy Rizor, former Scout master. Member-at-large of the board of directors of the Atlanta Area Council of Boy Scouts of America. Doctor at the Physicians Spine and Rehabilitation Specialists.

Michelle Holmes, former Scout master and member of BSA’s Northeast Region Board of Scouts. Physician and medical researcher at Harvard University.

From The Reading List

The New York Times: “Facing a Wave of Sex-Abuse Claims, Boy Scouts of America Files for Bankruptcy” — “The Boy Scouts of America, an iconic presence in the nation’s experience for more than a century, filed for bankruptcy protection early Tuesday, succumbing to financial pressures that included a surge in legal costs over its handling of sexual abuse allegations.

“Founded in 1910, the Boy Scouts have long maintained internal files at their headquarters in Texas detailing decades of allegations involving nearly 8,000 “perpetrators,” according to an expert hired by the organization. Lawyers have said in recent months that former scouts have come forward to identify hundreds of other abusers not included in those files.

“The bankruptcy filing, in Delaware, is expected to disrupt continuing litigation and establish a deadline for when former scouts can pursue claims.

“‘If you’ve ever considered coming forward, now is the time,’ said Tim Kosnoff, a lawyer who has long worked on Boy Scouts cases and is part of a team of attorneys who created an Abused in Scouting victims’ group.”

Fox News: “Opinion: Alvin Townley: Could Bloomberg’s Eagle Scout creds be his key to clinching the Dem presidential nomination?” — “In the Boston suburb of Medford, a Jewish kid from a Russian immigrant family joined an otherwise all-Baptist Boy Scout troop. His middle-class family couldn’t afford to send him to summer camp with Troop 11 so Michael Bloomberg learned to hustle. For five years running, this Jewish scout won a camp scholarship by selling more Christmas wreaths than every Baptist in his troop.

“That gumption and background are exactly why other candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination should beware.

“Although Bloomberg has come under fire for his past comments on policies like stop and frisk this week, his experience as an Eagle Scout could help set him apart. In scouting, Bloomberg learned to set goals and achieve them. He learned entrepreneurship in the broadest sense. While leaders and fellow Scouts were always ready to help, he had to take the initiative and do the work. He earned more than 20 merit badges, progressed through six ranks, and ultimately earned the pinnacle rank of Eagle Scout.”

The Wall Street Journal: “Boy Scouts Bankruptcy Strategy Would Pay Victims but Protect Most Assets” — “The Boy Scouts of America has drawn up a strategy that aims to protect its local scouting councils and the billions of dollars in assets they hold from sexual-abuse claims, according to people familiar with the matter.

“Facing roughly 300 lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct by employees and volunteers, the Boy Scouts are considering a bankruptcy filing covering the national governing body but excluding 261 local councils, these people said. Councils operate local troops and own assets including land in many states.

“A bankruptcy filing would represent a dramatic step by the Boy Scouts, founded in 1910, to protect their financial wherewithal and compensate alleged victims of sexual abuse as the group faces declining membership. The Wall Street Journal reported in late 2018 the Boy Scouts were considering bankruptcy.”

NPR: “New Lawsuit Reveals More Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Boy Scouts Of America” — “The Boy Scouts of America are facing new allegations of sexual abuse from about 800 men across the country, according to lawyers representing them. One of the men filed suit Monday in Philadelphia.

“The plaintiff, a Luzerne County, Pa., man identified in the suit only as S.D., says an assistant scoutmaster molested him at a camp and at the scoutmaster’s house dozens of times in the 1970s, over the course of about five years starting when he was about 12 years old. Named as defendants in the lawsuit are the scoutmaster, Paul Antosh of Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; the national Boy Scouts of America organization, based in Texas; and the regional Pennsylvania Mountains Council.

“This may be the first of many lawsuits, Philadelphia personal injury attorney Stewart Eisenberg said at a news conference in Washington, D.C., Tuesday.”

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.