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Boy Scouts of America seeks bankruptcy protection amid sex-abuse lawsuits

Feb 19, 2020

Washington DC (USA) Feb 19: The 110-year-old Boy Scouts of America (BSA), one of the largest youth organizations in the United States, has filed for bankruptcy protection, according to a court filing issued Tuesday in the northeastern state of Delaware.
The bankruptcy filing came as the organization faces hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits, thousands of alleged abuse victims and dwindling membership numbers across the country.
As a result of the filing, all civil litigation against the organization is suspended, said a CNN report.
"The BSA cares deeply about all victims of abuse and sincerely apologizes to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting. We are outraged that there have been times when individuals took advantage of our programs to harm innocent children," Roger Mosby, BSA's president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.
"While we know nothing can undo the tragic abuse that victims suffered, we believe the Chapter 11 process - with the proposed Trust structure - will provide equitable compensation to all victims while maintaining the BSA's important mission," he said.
The BSA said that only the national organization had filed for Chapter 11 and that local councils that provide programming and other services are financially independent.
The nonprofit organization, founded in February 1910, also said on Tuesday that "approximately 90% of pending and asserted abuse claims against the BSA relate to abuse that occurred more than 30 years ago."
The BSA has been dogged by allegations of sexually abusing boys since a landmark case in 2010 that ended with an 18.5-million-U.S.-dollar damage award and the release of more than 20,000 confidential documents, dubbed the "perversion files."
More than 200 former U.S. boy scouts came forward with new allegations of sexual abuse by BSA members last April. Some victims were still underage or in their 20s at the time, though many have held their secrets for decades. Local media said some lawsuits allege repeated fondling, exposure to pornography, and forced anal or oral sex.
The BSA reported in 2016 that it has more than 1.26 million Cub Scouts, nearly 830,000 Boy Scouts and about 960,000 adult volunteers.
Source: Xinhua News Agency