Opinion: The Boy Scouts of American File for Bankruptcy After 300 Lawsuits

Warning: The following article includes topics of sexual assault that may be triggering for some readers

This past week the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) have been keeping their legal team busy after filing for bankruptcy. The BSA has been in headlines in the past decade for sexual assault allegations and lawsuits. Their poor transparency and lack of caution have finally caught up with them. The BSA filed for bankruptcy after over 300 lawsuits arose from men saying that their scout leaders abused them, in some cases, for multiple years. 

In the past year, it was revealed that the BSA had hidden a list of 7,800 scout leaders since the 1940’s who had “pedophile-like” behavior with the boy scouts, and it was recently identified that more than 12,000 victims came forward with their abuse stories that stem from the boy scouts. 

The financial struggles started when one of their biggest supporters, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, cut ties with the organization to start their own kind of boy scouts-esque organization. Now, because of the bankruptcy filing, sexual abuse lawsuits are being forced to be put on pause as this makes its way through bankruptcy court. 

Some argue that they are filing for bankruptcy to “hide a Mt. Everest in dirty secrets.” If the BSA fully recognized inappropriate relationships between scouts and leaders, they would not be in the situation they are today. Without much caution, beginning in the 40’s and proceeding though the 90’s, a door of sexual abuse secrets was closed shut and locked by the organization’s president himself. 

As if a payout could replace the trauma of sexual abuse, the group said it paid $150 million in settlements and legal costs from 2017 to 2019 alone. By filing for bankruptcy, the Boy Scouts can consolidate all of the lawsuits against the organization and pursue a settlement that potentially is far lower than settlements outside of bankruptcy. Essentially meaning that the victims will not receive a proper settlement because of the bankruptcy.  

Bankruptcy can prevent survivors who haven’t shared their stories yet since the public typically interprets bankruptcy to mean the organization is out of money. “Bankruptcy is the ultimate get-out-of-jail-free card for these organizations,” Jonathan Little, an Indianapolis-based attorney said. “I understand there’s a finite amount of resources. But they make deals with secured creditors and vendors and then they screw over unsecured creditors – mainly little kids.”

The Boy Scouts for America have been sweeping these secrets under the rug for too long and just when they start to come out with courage, a bankruptcy is filed. Coincidence? Not at all. The BSA has been and always will be one word: suppressors.  

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Shannon Murray is a junior communications major with a minor in astronomy. Shannon is CisternYard’s opinions editor, and owns two overweight cats who share the same name. When she isn't doing school work, she can be found shopping at goodwill or going to concerts.

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