As the window for filing sexual abuse claims against the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) closed yesterday, PCVA partner Michael Pfau spoke with several media outlets about the scope of abuse and the impact of the BSA bankruptcy on survivors. After filing for bankruptcy in February 2020, at least 82,000 claims have been filed against the organization. In an interview with CNN, Pfau discussed the impact on abuse survivors who file claims in bankruptcy court versus via civil proceedings. “Their lives won’t be scrutinized, but they lose their right to a jury trial. For a lot of abuse survivors, telling their story in a court of law and forcing the organizations to defend their actions can be cathartic. That won’t happen with a bankruptcy,” he said.
Speaking with The Seattle Times, Pfau explained how the decision for the BSA national organization to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy has not produced the intended results. “They thought they could get in, get out, limit their liability and protect their local organizations. But they grossly underestimated the level of abuse in scouting. Instead, it’s now crystal clear that the Boy Scouts of America probably has the largest number of sexual abusers of any institution in our country, ever.”
Comparing the number of abuse claims in the BSA bankruptcy filing with those in the bankruptcies filed by Catholic dioceses, Pfau explained, “The Catholic bankruptcies are limited in geographic scope. Here there will be claimants from all 50 states and the American territories. We can talk about files and numbers, but in reality, if you step back and realize the scope of the human carnage, it’s stunning.”
With the timeframe ending for claimants to file, the next step will be for a third-party advisor to review the claims and develop a reorganization plan. In the meantime, survivors will continue to wait for resolution through the courts. But as PCVA partner Jason Amala told the New York Post, “Nothing can undo the damage that the Boy Scouts have caused to tens of thousands of survivors across the nation.”
See additional media coverage.
Boy Scouts must settle 95,000 abuse claims by next summer – or risk running out of cash (The Washington Post)
About 90K sex abuse claims filed in Boy Scouts bankruptcy (Associated Press)
Nearly 90,000 former Boy Scouts file sexual abuse claims (Democrat & Chronicle)