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The Boy Scouts of America face chapter 11 bankruptcy after widespread abuse claims

Boy Scouts of America Filing Bankruptcy After Widespread Abuse Claims

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By Jennifer R Donnelly

In the aftermath of thousands of abuse allegations, the Boy Scouts of America have elected to file for chapter 11 bankruptcy, an act perceived to be a last-ditch effort in preserving the organization. Peter Janci, a victim's rights attorney, is representing hundreds of these alleged victims alongside his firm, Crew Janci LLP. Janci estimates the number of abused minors to be as many as 100,000. The news of this chapter 11 bankruptcy is said to be the largest of its kind within the realm of youth-serving organizations.

Boy Scouts organization files bankruptcy in hopes to condense mass suits into one large claim
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Addressing the announcement of the chapter 11 bankruptcy, and subsequent abuse claims, the Boy Scouts of America made a statement to Rolling Stone, stating that the goal behind filing was "to equitably compensate victims while ensuring Scouting continues across the country." Lawyer Peter Janci believes their motive to be less noble, expressing his opinion that the Boy Scouts filed in an effort to save themselves from financial disaster. By filing for bankruptcy, the Boy Scouts of America have the capacity to group the myriad of lawsuits under one umbrella, saving them from dealing with independent abuse claims. When asked for his take on the filing Janci was quoted as saying this: "It’s costly for them to defend these cases as individual pieces of litigation,

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During their bankruptcy filing process, the Boys Scouts of America requested that potential victims of abuse be given only 80 days to come forward with their claims. While this serves to protect the organization from further allegations, many fear that it will leave more recent victims unaccounted for. Lawyer Michael Mertz, who currently represents victims of the organization, spoke upon this deadline stating the following: "The process of moving from recognition of the abuse to a place of taking action can be slow and painful, and often only occurs after long periods of counseling.” Attorney Peter Janci believes that this 80 day time limit is a tactic designed to halt further accusations from states with extended statue of limitations. Janci believes that the BSA is attempting to control victims ability to come forward, finding the action especially heinous provided that "at the core of what they suffered was having control taken away from them."

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When asked his opinion on why so many predators flocked to Scoutmaster positions, Janci says: "Part of the reason it was so prevalent is it was very easy to become a scoutmaster and you were allowed to take boys out into the woods for multiple nights, which we now know is a situation that is rife with danger." It appears that the Boy Scouts of America were aware of the plethora of sexual abuse claims, in fact they have been discovered to have been protecting abusers since as early as 1920. The organization kept detailed records of all accused predators but failed to reveal this information to parents, scouts or police. Accused scoutmasters were allowed to continue with the organization, potentially perpetuating further crimes against child members.

Filing for bankruptcy protection allows Boys Scouts to preserve assets and local chapters
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Through filing for bankruptcy protection Janci believes that the Boy Scouts are intending to continue the operation of their more than 260 local chapters while protecting their assets valued between $3-5 billion dollars. Currently, the organization boasts over 2.2 million members ranging from the ages of 5-21 years old. After discovering widespread cover-ups enacted to protect abusers, while essentially silencing victims, many wonder if the organization is capable of responsibly continuing to serve children. With abuse claims being reported to have taken place as recent as 2015, it seems likely that more recent allegations will surface, further marring the reputation of this formerly wholesome organization.

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