Attorneys say membership rosters are critically important, especially for former Scouts who were abused at a young age and may not remember their troop numbers or leaders’ names.
A committee representing survivors of childhood sexual abuse in the Boy Scouts of America’s bankruptcy proceedings has asked a court to issue subpoenas for information the BSA’s high-level and local leadership may be trying to hide.
The Associated Press reports that the requests were submitted by attorneys for the tort claims’ committee, or TCC, on Tuesday.
In its petition, the TCC said that it needs to review a variety of information to ensure it can participate in the potential resolution of the thousands of separate sexual abuse claims which have been levied against the Boy Scouts in recent years. Specifically, attorneys have asked for documents and statements relating to the Scouts’ financial assets, membership rosters, and insurance policies.
“Without the facts in hand, the parties’ mediation may stall,” the TCC’s court filing says.
According to The A.P., the committee is specifically seeking discovery from the BSA and 47 named Scout councils.
“The examinees have slow-walked information on the local councils’ restricted assets and stonewalled on the roster requests, and the TCC has no confidence that all of the insurance policies have been procured,” attorneys wrote.
However, the Boy Scouts responded by pledging that all of the involved 253 local councils will corporate with the committee’s probe.
The organization also said it would share, and continue to share, information relating to the Boy Scouts’ current and future financial transactions involving its own assets.
“This clearly demonstrates that the BSA and the local councils are committed to working through a productive, mediated process that provides equitable compensation for survivors of past abuse in Scouting and ensures that the mission of Scouting can continue for America’s youth,” the BSA said.
The St. George News notes that the Scouts filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February—largely due to an overwhelming number of sexual abuse-related lawsuits and claims.
As LegalReader’s reported numerous times before, the Boy Scouts have been accused of concealing abuse or failing to adequately shield young Scouts from serial predators. For decades, the Boy Scouts maintained an internal docket tracking sexual abuse. Termed the “Perversion Files,” the documents list Scout leaders, volunteers, and other affiliates against whom credible allegations of abuse had been levied.
In many cases, the “Perversion Files” were not shared with law enforcement or were not accessible enough to prevent serial predators from leaving one troop and moving on to another.
Attorneys for the many former Scouts now suing the BSA say that acquiring rosters is critically important—not only would having access to rosters serve to verify plaintiffs’ claims, it could also help child sex abuse survivors pinpoint information they may have since forgotten, such as the number of their Boy Scout troop, its sponsoring organization, and the names of particular local leaders.
“Since the vast majority of claimants were children and teens when they were abused, it is completely understandable that they would not be able to recall this information—some of the claimants were in second or third grade when they were sexually abused,” TCC attorneys wrote.