The US scouting dome BSA wants to free $850 million (around 700 million euros) for compensation for victims of sexual abuse. Boy Scouts of America hopes to prevent bankruptcy with the settlement, one of the largest ever in the US.
For the settlement, the scouting organization has reached agreement with some 250 local departments and three interest groups of 60,000 men accusing scouting leaders of sexual abuse. Several BSA insurers, who will have to pay the money, are likely to challenge the purchase arrangement in court; they feel that an overgenerous bid has been made.
Founded in 1910, the Boy Scouts admitted that sexual abuse was a persistent problem within the organization. A blacklist of offenders barely helped. New guidelines, such as a rule that leaders should no longer be alone with individual children, should improve.
Local departments will have to raise about $250 million together. Some have already said that it might have to sell land. In addition to damages, agreements have also been made to prevent recurrence, such as an obligation to report cases of abuse.
Deferral of payment
Boy Scouts of America, with millions of members, is one of the largest youth organizations in the US. Last year, the BSA applied for a postponement of payment after a boom of lawsuits on abuse by hopmen or banners. After reporting an abuse call, tens of thousands of complaints flowed in.
The scouting organization lost many members last year: from nearly 2 million in 2019 to 1.1 million in 2020, and its membership has since dropped even further to around 750,000. This was not only because of the abuse scandal, but also because of the pandemic, which often had to cancel physical meetings.