Boy Scouts reach $850M settlement with sexual abuse victims – KIRO 7 News Seattle
DOVER, Del. – The Boy Scouts of America struck a deal on Thursday with lawyers representing victims of child sexual abuse, doubling their initial compensation offer to $ 850 million.
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According to The Wall Street JournalThe Boy Scouts have offered the money and other assets to the survivors and are ceding the insurance rights to a trust that would administer the claims and distribute the payments, according to an agreement filed in bankruptcy court Thursday.
The proposed deal “ensures we have the overwhelming support of the survivors” to come out of bankruptcy, the Boy Scouts said in a statement. The agreement must be approved by a vote of creditors and obtain approval from the U.S. bankruptcy court in Wilmington, Delaware, to take effect, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The settlement plan would rank among the largest in U.S. history for sexual abuse, according to The Associated Press.
Paul Mones, a lawyer representing some of the survivors, said USA today that with insurance contributions, the settlement amount could exceed $ 1 billion.
Lawyers for the Boy Scouts filed court documents Thursday evening outlining a restructuring support agreement with lawyers representing victims of abuse, the PA reported.
“After months of intensive negotiations, the debtors have reached a resolution with every official and major creditors group in these Chapter 11 cases,” the Boy Scouts of America lawyers wrote.
More than 84,000 people are part of the Boy Scout lawsuit, which has been plagued by allegations of abuse by volunteers and leaders since the 1960s, NBC News reported. Last year, the Boy Scouts of America filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as they faced mounting legal fees to defend themselves against allegations of sexual abuse against boys, the network reported.
Ken Rothweiler, a Philadelphia lawyer who represents the largest group of claimants – more than 16,800 people – said NBC News that the settlement was a start.
“I am happy that the BSA and its local councils have stepped up to be the first to compensate survivors,” Rothweiler said in a statement. “We will now negotiate with insurers and sponsoring and charter organizations that have billions of dollars in legal exposure, a substantial portion of which is needed to fairly compensate survivors.”
Rothweiler added that the majority of his clients are between the ages of 60 and 70 and the abuse happened when they were teenagers, NBC News reported.
Insurers, including Century Indemnity Co. of Chubb Ltd., Travelers Cos. and American International Group Inc. said in court documents filed Thursday that they were excluded from closed-door talks over the proposed deal, according to The Wall Street Journal. The companies alleged that the Boy Scouts had “turned the pen” over to victims’ lawyers to define the terms under which abuse claims will be assessed and paid.
“With only the fox guarding the henhouse, the result is totally at odds with what BSA itself has claimed is necessary for a confirmable plan and is licensed under the bankruptcy code,” the insurers wrote.
The Boy Scouts said the proposal “will fairly compensate survivors and secure the future of Scouting by resolving cases of past abuse for both the national organization and local councils.”
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