Boy Scouts partner with survivors of abuse to strengthen child protection efforts
(Reuters) – The Boy Scouts of America and a group representing thousands of men who say they were sexually assaulted by troop leaders as children said on Tuesday they were forming a task force to advise the organization of youth on efforts to protect current and future Scouts.
The survivor advisory task force will be comprised of 15 to 20 people, including eight to 12 survivors of sexual abuse, according to a statement from the BSA and the Coalition of Abused Scouts for Justice, a group that says it represents. 60,000 survivors of abuse. The working group will focus on the organization’s current and future child protection policies and protocols.
The creation of the task force comes amid BSA’s bankruptcy, which began in February 2020 to resolve hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits. The organization is awaiting votes for its draft reorganization plan, which is based on a proposed settlement that sets up a trust to compensate former Boy Scouts who have filed abuse complaints. Votes are due December 14.
The BSA, local councils, insurers and others have committed about $ 1.887 billion to compensate survivors of abuse. Supporters of the plan, including the Coalition, say that amount should increase.
The plan includes non-cash elements to keep Scouts safe in the future, including the creation of a child protection committee. The activities of the working group will be transferred to this committee once BSA comes out of bankruptcy.
At least six BSA representatives, including the organization’s CEO and the chair of the organization’s existing Safe Scouting Committee, will also sit on the working group.
The BSA plan is backed by the Coalition and one of its main insurers, Hartford Financial Services Group, among others. However, it encountered opposition from another insurer, Century Indemnity Company, and from the committee representing all the survivors of the bankruptcy.
The case is In re Boy Scouts of America, United States Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware, No. 20-10343.
For the Boy Scouts: Jessica Lauria, Michael Andolina, Matthew Linder and Laura Baccash of White & Case; and Derek Abbott and Andrew Remming of Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell
For the Abused Scouts for Justice Coalition: David Molton, Sunni Beville and Eric Goodman of Brown Rudnick; Lawrence Robbins, Ariel Lavinbuk, William Trunk and Joshua Bolian of Robbins, Russell, Englert, Orseck & Untereiner; and Rachel Mersky from Monzack Mersky and Browder
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