Boy Scouts of America:
A Century of Abuse and the Road to Bankruptcy

In a shocking blow to the world of Scouting, Boy Scouts of America (BSA) filed for bankruptcy in February 2020. Many people are wondering how things got to that point and whether BSA is going out of business.

Among the most concerned are those tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of scouts who were sexually abused while taking part in BSA activities. They understandably want to know whether they can still take action against BSA.

At the time of writing this article, victims can still seek justice from BSA for a limited period of time. If you need to talk confidentially about your rights and how to move forward, please contact Crew Janci for a free, no pressure consultation.

What the Boy Scout Secret Files Show About Abuse in Scouting

A Century of Shame

Modeled on the British Scouting Association, BSA was founded in 1910. Since that time, an estimated 130 million boys (and, more recently, many girls) have participated in scouting programs and have enjoyed wholesome and beneficial experiences under its various local chapters

Sadly, many youth have also been abused and betrayed during their time in Scouting. Almost since it first started accepting members, Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has attracted some of the worst of humanity, predatory pedophiles whose actions are the polar opposite of the truth and moral strength all scouts are trained to embody. Seeking personal, sexual gratification, these individuals have infested BSA as scout leaders and volunteers. They have engineered circumstances where they can live out their sick fantasies with no regard for the lives they are ruining in the process.

It took 100 years and a landmark lawsuit for the full extent of the child sexual abuse problem to be publicly revealed. However, the most shocking revelation of all was that the BSA not only knew of boy scouts abuse within its ranks, it had been curating secret records of child abuse for decades.

The controversy revolves around a closely guarded secret: a set of records that came to be known as the 'perversion files.'

boy scout salute
1935

Over 1,000 suspects had already removed from scouting

The first public reference to the existence of these secret internal files was at the BSA’s 25th gala in 1935. President Roosevelt’s son was giving a speech referencing the organization’s ‘Red Files.’ The baffled attendees thought he was referencing the tracking of communists. When BSA clarified the information at a press conference, they revealed that the Red Files were actually records of child molesters and that they had already removed over one thousand of suspected abusers from their ranks.

That same year, the New York Times published an article revealing that the BSA indeed kept ‘cards’ on nearly 3,000 adults who were deemed not suitable to be working with children. In fact, over 1,000 suspects had already been removed from scouting due to accusations of sexual abuse.

1950

Before the 1950s, the BSA changed their policies to further remove the files from the possibility of public scrutiny. Local chapters were no longer permitted to hold the “Ineligible Volunteer” files; instead, they had to send the details to the BSA head office and destroy any copies. The BSA also set up a secretive probation system, allowing some alleged offenders to continue working with scouts.

1971

BSA made a decision to destroy a large number of files they considered to be outdated

If holding secret internal files wasn’t suspect enough, in 1971, BSA executives took a step further. They made the decision to destroy a large number of files they considered to be outdated. Records where the alleged offender was either deceased or over 80 years of age were simply erased from their history. How many of these files contained potential criminal evidence? How many pedophiles had their slates wiped clean and took their secrets to their graves with them? How many victims lost their chance of receiving any kind of justice? We will never know.

1972

Six million members registered

Over the next 15 years, the popularity of Scouting would soar. BSA’s popularity peaked in 1972 with around six million members registered.

The abuses continued behind the scenes though and, over the coming decades, scout abuse survivors slowly started bringing claims against BSA. Many of the cases were settled in secret, a stipulation required by the BSA and its insurers.

2007

732 IV files contained details of so-called 'degenerates'

$19.9million
Verdict for
Victim

In 2007, following an earlier lawsuit filed against BSA in Washington, the BSA were forced, for the first time, to provide victims’ sexual abuse lawyers some of its so-called ‘Ineligible Volunteer’ (IV) Files. 732 of these files contained details of so-called ‘degenerates’.

However, this case did not result in large-scale public disclosure and the IV Files might have remained a closely guarded secret to this day had it not been for a pivotal lawsuit in 2010, the case of Kerry Lewis vs. Boy Scouts of America, Multnomah County Circuit Court CaseNo. 0710-11294. Lewis was one of six men who had each filed lawsuits in 2007 alleging abuse by a scout leader named Timur Dykes in Oregon in the 1980s. Attorneys from Crew Janci LLP were part of the trial team representing the victim, Kerry Lewis.

Kerry Lewis

Following a six week trial, Lewis was awarded a total of $19.9 million, including $18.5 million punitive damages, the largest ever verdict for any single plaintiff in child abuse case against BSA. The aftermath of the trial was to have even more of an impact on BSA.

To come to their verdict, the jury was given access to a large portion of boy scout Perversion Files, all files created between 1965-1985. The jury read about alarming cases where suspected abusers had been allowed to quietly resign rather than face criminal prosecutions. In some cases, BSA personnel had even been complicit in covering up the alleged abuser’s tracks. For example, some scout leaders had been told that if they kept quiet about the accusations they could resign without affecting their standing in the community. Kelly Clark, one of the attorneys representing Lewis, revealed in argument that BSA had even written to law enforcement on numerous occasions to request that cases were not made ‘too public’.

Our later partner, Kelly Clark, lead trial attorney for Kerry Lewis, revealed in opening arguments that BSA had even written to law enforcement on numerous occasions to request that cases were not made 'too public'.

Kelly Clark sexual abuse Attorney
1965 to 1985

1,247 alleged child
sexual abuse cases.

After the landmark verdict in 2010, BSA appealed the issue of the public release of the files up to the Oregon Supreme Court. Following a two year fight in that appeal, BSA were finally required to publicly release more than 20,000 pages of documentation from the files. The documents spanned a 20 year period, from 1965 to 1985, and detailed 1,247 alleged child sexual abuse cases from across the United States.

1985 to 1991

1,200 previously
unpublished files covered

Shortly thereafter, the LA Times released a further 1,200 previously unpublished files which covered the years 1985 to 1991; they also added summary information on around 3,200 additional files stretching from 1947 to 2005.

1944 to 2016

12,254 cases involving
7,819 scout leaders and
volunteers

Between 2012 and 2020, hundreds of victims found their perpetrators in the publicly-released files it brought suit against BSA. Later, in an unrelated litigation in 2019, it was revealed that even this alarming number of cases and perpetrators was an underestimation and that the BSA continued to keep thousands of files secret. According to a testimony by Dr. Janet Warren, a professor working with the BSA on the IV files, there are 12,254 existing files involving 7,819 scout leaders and volunteers. These events took place over 70 years between 1944 and 2016.

Of course, these cases still represent only those abuses that that were reported to BSA, and where a file was created and not destroyed. The real victim count is likely to be over 100,000. Although BSA claim that around 90% of boy scouts sexual abuse cases occurred more than 30 years ago, there are currently numerous allegations of abuse pending from as recently as 2015.

BSA claim that around 90% of sexual abuse cases occurred more than 30 years ago

If you are a victim of abuse in scouting and you have yet to pursue justice, there is still time. Please contact Crew Janci for a free and confidential call with our sympathetic team and learn about your rights.

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How Many Boys Were Abused in Boy Scouts?

The Scale of the Problem of Abuse in Scouting

Over more than a century, BSA has welcomed over 130 million members. While memberships today are considerably lower than they used to be, the Boy Scouts still provide activities for more than two million boys and girls. BSA is a diverse organization with chapters across the country admitting children from all races, socio-economic classes and religions.

It is easy to see why such an organization would attract pedophiles, especially since scout leaders do not need any special degrees or certifications and are not expected to complete an arduous training program. In addition, for much of its history, BSA did not enforce rigorous child protection policies. For example, one adult scout leader could take a group of boys out into woods for days at a time without anyone blinking an eye. In some cases, perpetrators were left to commit their offenses against dozens if not hundreds of boys over time.

Looking through the files and associated press reports, it is clear to see how some scout leaders operated. They would isolate scouts away from their parents, allow scouts to drink alcohol and to view pornography. They might then push boundaries through inappropriate, sexual, conversation, “games”, and activities such as skinny dipping and group showers. The abuse would then often escalate to groping, fondling, masturbation and rape.

DON’t
NEED any degrees
boy scout drinking alcohol

They would isolate scouts away from their parents, allow scouts to drink alcohol, and to view pornography. They might then push boundaries through inappropriate, sexual, conversation, “games”, and activities such as skinny dipping and group showers.

Although BSA has tried to portray its ineligible volunteer files system as a tool for protecting scouts from this sort of abuse, the details of the files tell a different story. The files overwhelmingly focus on the perpetrators. The files show that BSA never had a policy or practice of trying to identify or support the victims. In fact, while victims were left to process their ordeal in silence, BSA did what it could to make things easy for the perpetrators while helping to minimize the damage to its own corporate reputation. Here are just a few examples of what happened in response to allegations and even admissions of sexual abuse:

BSA also appear to have put excessive energy into trying to conceal the problem from Congress.

For example, Section 8 of the BSA’s Congressional Charter compels the organization to provide an annual report to Congress by April 1st of each year. Despite being on the verge of boy scouts bankruptcy proceedings as a result of hundreds of CSA claims, there is nothing in the BSA’s 2019 Report to the Nation Report to suggest there is a problem of abuse to address. As with its 100 plus previous reports to congress, it’s as if there is nothing worth talking about.

What about BSA’s Youth Protection Program?

Why “Two Deep Leadership” Was Too Little Too Late

Ten years into their formation it was already becoming clear that BSA had a problem with pedophiles. In the 1920s, BSA created the screening database that evolved into the ineligible volunteer files.

From that moment on, BSA made the fateful decision to deal with child abuse as an internal issue to be handled secretly rather than expose a criminal epidemic raising public awareness. Even in today’s world, where we have the power of the Internet as a communication tool, it can be difficult to track some perpetrators. Back in the 1920s, the challenge was clearly too big for one organization to manage on its own.

Instead of admitting its growing problem and enlisting external help, a move which would have been embarrassing for the BSA but would have protected children, the organization continued to downplay and deny there was a problem for decades.

2010

Only in 2010, following the pivotal Kerry Lewis case, did BSA even admit that child abuse was a problem within scouting. Only then did it decide to include training about sexual abuse in scouting in its training.

2011

BSA made it mandatory for all child abusers to be reported to the police.

Still, it was not until 2011 that BSA made it mandatory for all alleged child abusers in their ranks to be reported to the police. The need for these interventions was clear for decades. All of these decisions could have been implemented decades earlier, saving tens of thousands of young people from harm. Instead, BSA continued to ‘manage’ the issue internally.

2013

BSA commissioned
professor Janet Warren

In 2013, BSA commissioned professor Janet Warren to study the IV files and recommend improvements. Yet the organization still remains stubbornly opposed to releasing all files into the public domain so that parents and child protection groups can take over the role of keeping pedophiles away from scouts. BSA cites privacy and due process, explaining that many of the scout leaders and volunteers named had never been criminally charged with any offense.

In recent years, the BSA has enhanced child protection in its Leadership Training. The educational resources have evolved with the times, with videos now provided in addition to the many pamphlets and books on the topic. The scouts themselves are taught about self-protection and have to demonstrate understanding of the risk of molestation and inappropriate touching to adults.

Another step the BSA took to protect scouts was to set up a 24 hour “Scouts First” helpline. However, this helpline is staffed by volunteers. This raises the same issue: trusting that scout leaders and volunteers will do the right thing and support the abused children over the reputation of BSA.

One factor stands out as instrumental in the BSA’s inability to stamp out pedophilia in its ranks. For more than half a century, it was permissible for scout leaders to spend one-on-one time with children. Former scouts who took part in activities in the 1970s and 1980s have revealed that it was not uncommon for one scout master to take a group of six to ten scouts out on an overnight trip with no other adult supervision. The number of its own IV files continued to grow, detailing the experiences of tens of thousands of abused children., Through these documents, BSA learned of thousands of examples of predators using one-on-one settings to abuse boys. BSA knew that, without changes, its program was continuing to place children at risk.

boy scout camp
Boy Scouts of America (BSA)
boy scouts training

As a result, perhaps one of the most effective child protection measures BSA rolled out was its belated ‘two-deep leadership’ policy in 1987. This was to apply to both physical trips, such as outings and virtual contact, for example meetings. Unfortunately, this policy was implemented decades too late.

Still, the ‘two-deep’ rule does not prevent a single scout master or volunteer being the only adult in attendance with two or more scouts. As long as there is more than one adult present for an activity and the ‘no one-on-one contact’ rule is observed, there are many situations where only one adult is present with the children they are supervising. While it is clearly riskier for a pedophile to behave inappropriately or to abuse children in this context, there are plenty of case studies in the IV files where multiple boys were abused by one scoutmaster.

NOONE-to-one contact

In addition under the ‘two-deep’ rule, only one of the “adults” has to be 21 years old or more. It is likely that a determined pedophile could easily deceive or even coerce a very young adult leader. We are then back to the situation of relying on BSA leaders and volunteers reporting any concerns.

While BSA has made some improvements, there are boy scout abuse cases, pending trial, where the alleged incidents took place within the last decade. This suggests that the BSA are still struggling to deal with child abusers in their midst.

If you were abused as a scout while under the care of BSA, please contact Crew Janci as soon as you can. You still have a limited time to seek justice and we can support you through the process. Telephone consultations are free and confidential.

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Why Did the Boy Scouts File Bankruptcy?

“The Road to the Boy Scouts’ Bankruptcy”

After 100 years of largely successful reputation management, the Kerry Lewis trial unearthed smoking gun evidence that proved BSA was complicit in the sexual abuse of children.

Following the release of the perversion files in 2012, the silent victims finally had the evidence needed to pursue justice against the organization that had betrayed them. Hundreds of lawsuits were filed around the U.S..

Membership
fallen to 60%
since 1970

Added pressure on the organization came from declining memberships which have fallen by over 60% since the early 1970s.

BSA have tried various measures to bolster their finances including raising membership dues and rebranding to allow girls to join. However, it has been hit by further issues. Insurers such as Hartford Accident and Indemnity Co. and First State Insurance Co. have refused to pay claims. This has led to the BSA suing its insurers.

2017

BSA spent $950,000
fighting such measures

BSA has also been on the offensive with their lobbying activity, fighting against States’ moves to help scouting abuse survivors make historical claims through statute of limitations reform. In 2017, BSA spent $950,000 fighting such measures, a fourfold increase on its average annual lobby spending. This uptick drew the attention of Congress.

December

2018

In late December 2018, the BSA first revealed, via a leak to the press, that it was considering filing for bankruptcy.

February

2019

The governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, increased the pressure on BSA with his signing of the Child Victims Act on February 14th 2019. This Act not only gave the survivors of historic CSA crimes the right to sue the institutions responsible for their abuse, it also extended the State’s Statute of Limitations, creating a one year window within which plaintiffs could file a lawsuit.

May

2019

Due to the catastrophic impacts of COVID-19 and the shuttering of New York’s court system, Governor Cuomo extends New York’s Child Victims Act statute of limitations window until January 14, 2021.

August

2019

New York’s Child Victims Act statute of limitations window opened August 13, 2019. This would run from August 2019 to August 2020, increasing the chance that the BSA would be swamped by new lawsuits (hundreds of perpetrators publicly revealed through release of the IV files were active in New York troops).

October

2019

California’s governor Gavin Newsom followed suit in October 2019, signing AB218 into law creating a SOL window in California. Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey signed a similar Act into law in December 2019, also creating a window.

December

2019

Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey signed a similar Act into law in December 2019, also creating a window.

February

2020

With its legal protections falling like dominoes, the BSA finally filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Tuesday 18th February 2020.

But what does all this mean for the victims of scouting abuse? Is BSA going out of business? What will happen to pending lawsuits? Is there hope for victims who have yet to come forward?

Fortunately, it is not too late to seek justice. However, if you or someone you know is considering taking action against BSA, the clock is most definitely ticking. We urge you to call Crew Janci for a free and confidential exploration of your options.

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The Boy Scouts Bankruptcy Plan

Following the Path of the Catholic Church and USA Gymnastics

Why did the Boy Scouts of America take the seemingly drastic step of filing for bankruptcy?

Although the word ‘bankruptcy’ seems extreme, the process of Chapter 11 bankruptcy is a restructuring rather than a liquidation. In short, BSA is not going out of business – at least not yet. In fact, the Chapter 11 bankruptcy pathway is designed to keep struggling companies in business.

By declaring bankruptcy, BSA is following a template set by various institutions that have faced multiple sexual abuse lawsuits. These include religious orders and dioceses in with the Roman Catholic church and USA Gymnastics being the most recent and high profile examples.

In the wake of tens of thousands of sexual abuse cases spanning more than half a century, over 20 Catholic dioceses have made the decision to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The first to do so was the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon in 2014 with the Archdiocese of Tucson, Arizona and the Diocese of Spokane, Washington following suit the same year. In 2019, the Archdiocese of Agana and Diocese of Rochester (as well as other New York diocese since the beginning of 2020), New York became the latest to follow the restructuring path.

In 2018, USA Gymnastics filed for bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Indiana after news emerged of former team doctor Larry Nassar’s extensive sexual abuse of hundreds of its members. In January 2020, the survivors’ group was offered a settlement of $217 million but are expected to reject it.

USA gymnastics filed bankruptcy

Although the BSA’s decision is certainly not unique, it dwarfs previous bankruptcies in terms of scale and scope. The largest prior bankruptcy had around 500 child sexual abuse claims. BSA’s bankruptcy will have well over 5,000 claims and will be the largest bankruptcy of a youth-serving organization in American history.

Boy Scouts of America (BSA)

While the BSA, like the Roman Catholic church, has offered spin that the bankruptcy is a way to ensure that compensation is equitable, there is little doubt of its main objective. It hopes to avoid a potentially catastrophic financial impact by minimizing legal defense costs and insulating itself from ‘runaway’ state court jury verdicts. BSA is also attempting to shield some of its considerable assets when negotiating a victim compensation plan.

The most cynical observers have also pointed out that BSA’s CEOs and directors have historically enjoyed large salaries and expensive perks which they would lose if the long-established scouting organization was to go under. The BSA, in its defense, has emphasized the importance of remaining solvent so that it can continue its stated mission of serving youth.

Boy Scouts of America (BSA)
Property of the boy scouts of America

$$1 billion in total

One part of the restructuring process will involve deciding which Boy Scout assets are “on the table” and to be included in settlement negotiations. The BSA’s nationally held assets of around $1 billion will definitely be put on the table, but the status of individual chapters is is in controversy. These “local councils” hold vast land and property which would bring the BSA’s value up to several billion in total. Since the local councils participated in the selection and ‘supervision’ of the accused perpetrators, it is only fair that their assets would be included in any plan of reorganization. The assets of various sponsoring organizations, for example those of the LDS and Roman Catholic Churches, could also present an important source of recovery for victims.

The Chapter 11 bankruptcy process will also include assessing the liability of insurers to meet some of the organizations liabilities. Some insurers have so far refused to honor insurance, claiming that the abuses were wholly preventable and therefore excluded from their liability.

bankruptcy process

The outcome of all of these legal battles will make a critical difference to the amount of potential compensation victims might receive. However, there is little doubt that some victims will receive much less than if they had been permitted to pursue their cases to trial in state court.

Bankruptcy also gives it the chance of a legal and financial ‘clean start’, ending the organization’s exposure for historical abuse once and for all. Those victims who are unwilling or unable to come forward before the ‘bar date’, will likely have lost their chance of pursuing justice against the scouts. Some of the stories of abuse, and even the identities of some abusers, will remain hidden.

Although BSA insist that all scout leaders and volunteers revealed in its hidden IV files have now been reported to the police, the lack of public scrutiny to date makes confirmation impossible. This is worrisome to anyone who cares for the wellbeing of today’s young scouts.

Victims of Sexual Abuse in the Boy Scouts Speak Out

And Why Does it “Take So Long” for Victims to Come Forward?

Boy Scouts of America was designed to guide young people to become capable and morally upright citizens. Many former scouts cherish their membership and are understandably proud of their achievements.

Child sexual abuse is always abhorrent and damaging, but the fact that the BSA is rooted in such lofty principles makes the organization’s actions in facilitating and concealing of these perpetrators an even devastating betrayal. Sexual abuse strips young people of the sense of innocence of childhood. Not only is this precious time that will never be recovered but the damage also extends into adulthood.

So what does ‘after’ look like for these betrayed children?

Many victims of child sexual abuse struggle with trust and intimacy and may experience multiple failed relationships. They often isolate themselves from others, including their own family members.

As attorney Peter Janci recently wrote in an article for Liberty Law School law review journal, ‘The lives of those who have been sexually abused as children are forever marked and altered—separated into before and after—by the abuse they suffer.’

Peter Janci Attorney

‘The lives of those who have been sexually abused as children are forever marked and altered—separated into before and after—by the abuse they suffer.’

Unsurprisingly, child sexual abuse also often leads to feelings of despair, a loss of faith and mental health issues such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Many victims need to medication to cope with their symptoms. Some tragically take their own lives or attempt to.

Some abuse survivors turn to alcohol or drugs, which has a ripple effect for their family members and often leads to an untimely death. Studies have also revealed that major killers such as diabetes, heart attack and stroke are significantly more prevalent in people who experienced abuse as children.

It is natural that many who have been exploited as children feel an impulse to “run away” or “escape” from painful memories and symptoms by keeping it quiet, hoping that the feelings will fade in time. Avoidance and denial are survival mechanisms that help people to continue to function after the most horrific experiences.

abuse survivors

Sadly, coming to terms with trauma doesn’t fit such objective, rigid timelines. Even if they get psychiatric help or attend counseling sessions, there is no deadline by which an abused person can guarantee they will be ready to testify.

In many cases, this plays in to the hands of those whose priority is to protect the good name and the assets of BSA rather than the children themselves. They know that Statutes of Limitation in most states put a time limit on lawsuits being filed.

For many who were abused as young scouts, speaking out about the horrific abuse they have suffered is difficult to contemplate. Although minors are in no way to blame for being abused, case studies describe how perpetrators often frame their abuse to cause the victims to feel complicit. This leads to deep feelings of shame and guilt which last long into adulthood.

sexual abuse trauma
sexual abuse trauma
substance abuse
drinking and sexual abuse

Where heterosexual boys have been abused by men, they may often fear being branded homosexual even though they were in no position to consent due to their age. They may also feel ashamed that they were unable to stop the abuse, feeling this as some kind of personal weakness. This fear of stigma, together with the tendency of men to keep their emotions to themselves as a result of gender conditioning, adds another barrier to male abuse victims coming forward. Social science evidence shows that men tend to disclose later in life than women. Perpetrators, aware of all of these factors, will often intentionally reinforce the guilt and shame during the abuse to make absolutely sure that their targets won’t disclose the abuse.

The good news is that victims do not have to suffer alone and symptoms can improve for those who reach out for help. There are several organizations that offer helpful supports (including online support groups and other web-based support) for male survivors of child sexual abuse.

“MENDon’t show
their emotions”

Although some sympathetic states have begun to recognize the need to give victims time by reinforcing their statutes of limitations, opening up a window of opportunity for victims to come forward, these windows are themselves limited and many people still feel unable to step forward during the presented lookback window periods.

In addition, when the BSA filed for bankruptcy in February 2020, any pending State lawsuits will have been immediately stayed. The plaintiffs now have had their day in front of a home state court jury substituted for a bit part as an ‘interested party’ in bankruptcy proceedings likely to go on for months, if not years of. For some, this will be disappointing while others may prefer the safety in numbers and less invasive process, even though they are likely to receive a smaller settlement at the end of the process.

Time is Running Out for Victims of Sexual Abuse in Scouting

How long do the victims of BSA sexual abuse have to take action? As of May 2020, the bankruptcy court has yet to finalize the bankruptcy claims process. This is not surprising, especially given the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, when the process is launched it will include what is termed a ‘bar date.’ This is a hard deadline by which victims must file a proof of claim in the bankruptcy case.

Failure to meet that date will not only prohibit most victims from receiving any of the compensation settlement, it will also prohibit them (or bar them) from pursuing compensation in any other way (e.g. a lawsuit) at a later date. It is likely that the only exception will be any children who were abused after the BSA filed for bankruptcy on February 18th.

#Me
Too

If there is a positive side to the bankruptcy settlement process, it’s that survivors of scout abuse will realize they are not alone. In the same way that the #MeToo movement has demonstrated the power of solidarity in achieving justice for women, the BSA bankruptcy has the ability to bring together CSA survivors and to motivate previously silent victims to step forward and speak their truth.

How Do Boy Scout Abuse Victims Get Help

Crew Janci LLP is determined to support victims in receiving compensation for their suffering. We have represented hundreds of sexual abuse victims over the past ten years, including many in active litigation against BSA. We are currently representing several hundred survivors of scouting abuse as they seek the justice they deserve.

If you are still unsure about whether you wish to make a claim, please contact us anyway. Calls are free and confidential and we can advise you of your legal rights and answer any questions you might have. Our sympathetic team understand that moving forward is a personal decision and they won’t put any pressure on you. However, the sooner you call, the better position you will be in to make an informed decision, as the bankruptcy process and time limits are moving increasingly quickly.

Attorneys at Crew Janci LLP have more than 40 years’ experience in standing up for victims of child sexual abuse in court. Founder Stephen Crew also helped found firm O’Donnell, Clark & Crew LLP.

100+

BSA Victims Helped by Crew Janci, LLP

$19.9
MILLION

Verdict Against BSA

70+

ABUSE DATING BACK YEARS

50+
YEARS

BSA Victims Helped by Crew Janci, LLP

Latest News Updates On BSA Bankruptcy

What’s New

Latest News

24th March, 2020

New Sexual Abuse Lawsuit against Boy Scouts of America, Montana Council

United States Bankruptcy Judge Laurie Selber Silverstein held a status conference in the Boy Scout Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings on March 19, 2020. In light of the challenges created by COVID-19, the Court held this status conference telephonically. Attorneys from Crew Janci LLP audited the March 19th status conference by telephone.

The primary purpose of the status conference was to set the agenda for the March 24th hearing. The Court directed the parties to defer any non-essential issues to the April hearing date given the immediate logistical issues flowing from COVID-19.

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8 Things You Should Know About Boy Scouts Bankruptcy

Why are the Boy Scouts filing for bankruptcy now?

“The major reason the Boy Scouts are filing bankruptcy now is the reckoning they are facing from thousands of child sexual abuse victims who are coming forward in civil lawsuits across the country,” said Peter Janci of Crew Janci LLP, who currently represents hundreds of victims abused as Boy Scouts. “The Boy Scouts have a long history of child sexual abuse occurring within its ranks, and the evidence shows that the Boy Scouts historically protected its reputation and pedophile scoutmasters over the children participating in its programs.”

The Boy Scouts of America began keeping secret files on pedophiles (called the “Perversion Files” or “Ineligible Volunteer Files”) soon after the organization formed in 1910. By January of 1935, BSA had accumulated approximately 1,000 pedophile files. Those secret files were maintained under lock and key at the Boy Scouts of America headquarters. Over the following decades, more than ten thousand similar files were created by the Boy Scouts. However, Boy Scout officials have admitted in sworn testimony that the organization destroyed thousands of its files over the years.

In many instances, according to testimony from Boy Scouts executives, the Boy Scouts of America did not report the allegations of child sexual abuse to law enforcement. Some scout leaders reported to the Boy Scouts for child sexual abuse were still allowed by the organization to continue as Scout Leaders under a secret internal BSA policy called “probation.” Parents and scouts were never notified of the existence of the probation program.

In 2012, the Los Angeles Times and attorneys from Crew Janci LLP published online databases that together make available approximately 5,000 of the Perversion Files that were publicly released through child sexual abuse lawsuits against the BSA.

“To this day, the Boy Scouts do not inform the public when they learn that a scout leader is accused of abusing children,” said victims attorney Stephen Crew. “Parents who enroll their children into a Scouting program may be putting their children in a dangerous situation without realizing it. This is information that should be out in the open, but the Boy Scouts refuse to be transparent and help parents protect their children.”

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Is it too late to come forward about Boy Scout sexual abuse?

Victims who have not come forward yet can still seek compensation in the bankruptcy.  However, the bankruptcy court is expected to impose time limits for victims to submit claims for compensation. This period may be relatively short (as little as 60 to 90 days).  People who choose not to file a claim in the bankruptcy are usually prohibited from suing later.  Victims who want to submit a claim for compensation in the bankruptcy should seek advice from an attorney experienced in representing victims of sexual abuse in the Boy Scouts.

“Whether or not you have come forward before today, if you were sexually abused as a boy scout, you can still come forward – but the time is now.  You are not alone.  This was not your fault.  And there is still time to get help,” said victims’ attorney Peter Janci.

“Victims coming forward in this process will help expose the full scope and gravity of the abuse epidemic that was ignored for decades by the Boy Scouts. It is victims coming forward that holds these organizations accountable and forces reforms that keep kids safer in the future.  Any victim who decides to come forward should seek the advice of an attorney experienced in representing victims against the Boy Scouts. These lawyers understand the unique difficulties of speaking up about abuse, they offer free confidential consultations to help victims understand their rights, and they use a payment model that does not charge victims unless or until they are able to get them compensation,” said victims’ attorney Steve Crew.

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What does the Boy Scouts bankruptcy mean?

BSA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which is a “reorganization” process that determines how a corporation will pay its debts. It does not eliminate the organization’s financial obligations.

We have seen this situation play out with other organizations facing many sexual abuse cases – like Catholic dioceses. Based on those examples, we believe the Boy Scouts will still be required to pay compensation to sexual abuse victims – so long as victims promptly file a claim in the bankruptcy proceeding,” said victims’ attorney Peter Janci of Crew Janci LLP.  “The Boy Scouts will not be permitted to use this bankruptcy filing to dodge compensating victims who suffered abuse as Scouts.”

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Does the Boy Scouts bankruptcy mean they’re going out of business?

Simply put, no. Boy Scouts of America’s national corporation has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Delaware Federal Bankruptcy Court on February 17th.  Chapter 11 is a “reorganization” process that determines how a corporation will pay its debts and continue in operations. This is different than a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which involves a liquidation and the corporation going out of business. In other words, based on its bankruptcy filing, Boy Scouts of America (BSA) plans to continue operations after the bankruptcy proceedings are complete.

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What are the Boy Scouts perversion files?

The media has reported that there are over 12,000 documented victims abused as scouts. However, that figure was only the number of victims that an expert paid by BSA identified in existing documents. The total number of victims is much higher because even when perpetrators were reported to BSA, the organizations never actively sought to identify victims. Moreover, Boy Scout officials have testified under oath to their extensive destruction of their Perversion Files. For large periods, the files that still exist only represent half of the files that ever existed.

The Boy Scouts are still keeping at least 2,498 internal secret “perversion files” created between 1985 and 2004.

“The Boy Scouts refuse to release even the names of these individuals, let alone their files. Many of these individuals could still be in the community abusing youth,” said victims’ attorney Peter Janci.

The Boy Scouts still create secret files to this day and have refused to release any public information about the numbers of Perversion Files they have created in the last 15 years – from 2004 to 2019.

“We know a large percentage of victims never report abuse,” said victims attorney Peter Janci. “We also know that people who sexually abuse children tend to have many victims over long periods of time.  When you combine that with the Boy Scouts’ secret system that minimized and concealed abuse, we estimate that the number of children abused in Scouting is well over 100,000.”

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How many boys were abused in Boy Scouts?

The media has reported that there are over 12,000 documented victims abused as scouts. However, that figure was only the number of victims that an expert paid by BSA identified in existing documents. The total number of victims is much higher because even when perpetrators were reported to BSA, the organizations never actively sought to identify victims. Moreover, Boy Scout officials have testified under oath to their extensive destruction of their Perversion Files. For large periods, the files that still exist only represent half of the files that ever existed.

The Boy Scouts are still keeping at least 2,498 internal secret “perversion files” created between 1985 and 2004.

“The Boy Scouts refuse to release even the names of these individuals, let alone their files. Many of these individuals could still be in the community abusing youth,” said victims’ attorney Peter Janci.

The Boy Scouts still create secret files to this day and have refused to release any public information about the numbers of Perversion Files they have created in the last 15 years – from 2004 to 2019.

“We know a large percentage of victims never report abuse,” said victims attorney Peter Janci. “We also know that people who sexually abuse children tend to have many victims over long periods of time.  When you combine that with the Boy Scouts’ secret system that minimized and concealed abuse, we estimate that the number of children abused in Scouting is well over 100,000.”

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What happens next with the Boy Scouts Bankruptcy?

The initiation of a bankruptcy proceeding will temporarily “stay” (pause) all filed litigation against the Boy Scouts across the United States. During that stay, the Bankruptcy Court will use a court process to push all interested parties to come up with a “plan of reorganization” – a plan for how the Boy Scouts will pay its debts, including compensating abuse survivors, and then continue its core functions. The Court will also establish a process for valuing claims by survivors of abuse in Scouting.

“There are major battles ahead,” said victims’ attorney Steve Crew. “We believe fair compensation for those whose lives have been altered forever by the negligence of the Boy Scouts should take precedence over flashy new building projects.”

Although the Boy Scouts have filed a number of requests with the Court today setting out the ways that they believe the bankruptcy should be handled, those are just that – requests. Those whose lives were forever changed by the abuse they suffered as scouts have their own views about how the Court should deal with the Boy Scouts in this bankruptcy. The Court should fairly weigh all of those considerations and arrive at a fair outcome.

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Crew Janci LLP:
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Boy Scout Sex Abuse: Stephen Crew Represents

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Media Coverage