The agreement still needs to be processed and approved by a federal bankruptcy judge.
The Boy Scouts of America have reached an agreement with attorneys for thousands of sexual abuse survivors, which will allow the Scouts’ reorganization plan to move ahead in bankruptcy court.
According to The Los Angeles Times, the proposal does not include any new money for the Scouts’ settlement trust. However, it does improve the existing claims process while enhancing the youth group’s child protection policies.
However, the Times notes that the agreement may not survive: in order for it to take effect, it will have to be reviewed and approved by a federal bankruptcy judge.
Furthermore, the plan still faces opposition from sexual abuse survivors, many of whom believe the terms of the proposed settlement are inadequate. The U.S. Trustee Program, which oversees bankruptcy courts, has also objected to key provisions.
The Boy Scouts had previously offered to settle all remaining abuse claims for an estimated $2.7 billion. However, the deal was rejected by abuse survivors. After being taken to a vote, the tentative settlement failed to garner “overwhelming support” from the 54,000 sexual abuse victims who voted on it.
The plan, says The Los Angeles Times, would have needed a “yes” vote of 75%, also subject to the approval of U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Laurie Selber Silverstein. But the offer never made it that far, falling 2% short of the minimum threshold.
Now, a mediator for the expressed optimism that the reworked offer could let the Scouts and survivors move on, telling the Los Angeles Times that “various sides”, including the Tort Claims Commission, had agreed to a deal in principle.
“As a result, the TCC succeeded in reaching its goals of meaningful child protection, independent governance of the Settlement Trust and an enhanced compensation structure for survivors,” committee co-chair John Humphrey said in a statement.
“With these accomplishments in hand, the TCC recommends that all survivors vote to accept the new and improved plan,” he added.
In a separate statement, the Boy Scouts of America said that it appears—for the first time—that all sides have “now support the BSA’s plan.”
“Moving forward, the goal of our financial restructuring process remains the same,” the Scouts said. “We are steadfast in our commitment to equitably compensate survivors and preserve the mission of Scouting.”
The Boy Scouts, as LegalReader.com has reported before, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February 2020—in no small part to fend off an overwhelming number of sexual abuse lawsuits and accusations.