(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

Boy Scouts of America seek to halt bankruptcy case brought on by sexual abuse claims

The bankruptcy comes from thousands of sexual abuse claims by former Boy Scouts

Roadblocks are continuing to pop up in the Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy case as the organization tries to finalize a reorganization plan built around a global resolution of thousands of sexual abuse claims by former Boy Scouts.

Attorneys for the youth organization filed a motion on Monday asking a Delaware bankruptcy judge to extend a preliminary injunction that halted lawsuits against local BSA councils and sponsoring organizations during the bankruptcy.

BSA attorneys said the filing was necessary because the official tort claimants committee that represents sexual abuse victims refused to consent to an extension, despite doing so several times in the past.

The current injunction expires March 19. The BSA, which hopes to emerge from bankruptcy this summer, is seeking an extension through July 19.

Attorneys for the BSA argue that maintaining the injunction is critical to restructuring efforts, including enabling local councils and chartered organizations to participate in mediation and, ultimately, make “a substantial contribution” to a settlement and global resolution of abuse claims. Allowing lawsuits against local councils and sponsoring organizations to proceed will make it difficult, if not impossible, for the BSA to both equitably compensate abuse survivors and ensure that the organization can continue to carry out its charitable mission, they contend.

“The TCC is apparently willing to gamble with the fortunes of abuse survivors and the debtors when the stakes are the highest,” BSA attorneys wrote, referring to the tort claimants committee.

An attorney for the committee did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment Tuesday.

Monday’s court filing came just days after the bankruptcy judge heard arguments on a request by insurance companies for permission to serve document requests on 1,400 people who have filed sexual abuse claims and to question scores of them under oath in an effort to determine whether there is widespread fraud in the claims process.

More than 95,000 sexual abuse claims have been filed in the case. Before the bankruptcy filing, the BSA had been named in about 275 lawsuits and told insurers it was aware of another 1,400 claims. The number of lawsuits has more than tripled in the past year to about 860 lawsuits in more than 110 state and federal courts. Roughly 600 were filed after the organization first sought the preliminary injunction.

The Boy Scouts of America, based in Irving, Texas, sought bankruptcy protection last February in an effort to halt hundreds of individual lawsuits and create a compensation fund for men who were molested as youngsters decades ago by scoutmasters or other leaders.

The roughly 250 local councils, which run day-to-day operations for local troops, are not listed as debtors in the bankruptcy and are considered by the Boy Scouts to be legally separate entities, even though they share insurance policies and are considered “related parties” in the bankruptcy case.

Attorneys for abuse victims made it clear from the onset of the bankruptcy that they would go after campsites and other properties and assets owned by councils to contribute to a settlement fund.

But the tort claimants committee has been frustrated with the response by local councils to requests for document production and information on their financial assets. After seeking court permission last year to issue subpoenas for information it claimed was being withheld by the BSA and its local councils, the committee filed a complaint last month challenging BSA’s contention that two-thirds of its listed $1 billion in assets, more than $667 million, are “restricted assets” unavailable for creditors.

More than half of the purportedly restricted assets, $345.4 million, consists of a note receivable from Arrow WV, a non-profit entity that was formed by the BSA in 2009 and which owns the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia, home to the National Scout Jamboree. The BSA leases the Summit from Arrow WV and provides the services required for its operation.

The tort committee contends that there is no restriction that could be applied to the Arrow WV note.

The BSA’s purportedly restricted assets also include three “High Adventures Facilities” valued at more than $63 million. They are the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, the Northern Tier in Minnesota and the Florida Sea Base. The committee asserts that there are no specific deed restrictions or donor restrictions that preclude the sale of those facilities and use of the proceeds to pay creditors. It also claims that the BSA previously took the position that they were unrestricted.

Attorneys for the BSA noted in Monday’s court filing that the tort claimants committee has received some 327,000 pages of documents regarding local council assets, the nature of restrictions on those assets, and historical transactions.

READ MORE Tiger Woods seriously injured in California car crash

READ MORE: B.C. salmon farmers request more time to leave Discovery Islands

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Boy Scouts sexual abuse

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A sign encouraging COVID-19 safety steps, with the Bayside rugby clubhouse – located adjacent to Semiahmoo Secondary and the South Surrey track – in background; Jan. 6, 2021. (Photo: Tracy Holmes)
Surrey sees 2,400 new COVID-19 cases in February

This is the lowest monthly increase since last fall

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of March 7

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Federal Conservative leader Erin O’Toole speaks during a virtual South Surrey & White Rock Chamber of Commerce town hall on Saturday, March 6, 2021.
O’Toole says South Surrey, White Rock face ‘acute’ challenges during pandemic

Federal Conservative leader speaks at local chamber town hall

A CVS pharmacist prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at Village Green Retirement Campus in Federal Way on Jan. 26. (Photo: Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
COVID-19 vaccination bookings start Monday for some Surrey seniors

First up is seniors aged 90-plus, and Indigenous seniors, elders aged 65-plus

Labour Minister Harry Bains addressing Surrey Board of Trade digital meeting Friday. (Screen shot)
Labour Minister says Surrey businesses’ resilience through pandemic ‘impressive’

‘Surrey’s effort in bending the curve has been among the best,’ Harry Bains says

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

The family of injured Willoughby resident Ronald Gerald Jesso is hoping someone saw something that will help solve the mystery of how he came to be so badly hurt on the morning of Feb. 22. Jesso is still in hospital. (Jesso family/Special to Langley Advance Times)
An appeal to help solve the mystery of an injured Langley man

Family of Ronald Gerald Jesso asks witnesses to come forward

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead on Vancouver Island in ‘targeted incident’

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Most Read