Boy Scouts Weighs Bankruptcy Due To Sex-Abuse Allegations (#GotBitcoin?)
Boy Scouts Meet At A Time of Crisis.Boy Scouts Weighs Bankruptcy Due To Sex-Abuse Allegations (#GotBitcoin?)
U.S. youth group co-hosts international jamboree while facing bankruptcy.
Tens of thousands of scouts from more than 150 countries marched across a campsite here, chanting in their native languages. Some American boys and girls in red, white and blue neckerchiefs chimed in: “Everywhere we go, people want to know, who we are, and where we come from!”
The Boy Scouts of America, which is co-hosting the two-week World Scout Jamboree that ends Friday, has traveled far since its founding in 1910. The honor of hosting this sprawling event comes as the national organization is going through some of the most transformative changes in its history, while confronting decadeslong declining membership numbers, shifting cultural norms and a possible bankruptcy.
This year, the U.S. organization began welcoming girls into its flagship program, known as Scouts BSA, after allowing girls into the Cub Scouts in 2018. That followed allowing gay youths to join in 2013, and later gay leaders, both of which were opposed by some conservative members. In 2017, the Boy Scouts began accepting transgender youth, stoking more controversy.
“So many things that were done years and years ago fit the constituencies that we were trying to serve. And our society has changed,” said Ellie Morrison, the national commissioner, one of the top three officials. “We have now changed, and come more aligned and are better prepared to serve our communities and our nation.”
Now, the national organization is weighing filing for bankruptcy as it faces an expected wave of lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct by employees and volunteers dating back decades. It hasn’t decided whether to file for bankruptcy, Ms. Morrison said in an interview.
“I am confident we will come out stronger on the other side of whatever is going to happen,” Ms. Morrison said. Either way, she added, “we will be prepared to be here for America’s youth.”
The Boy Scouts of America along with co-hosts Scouts Canada and Asociación de Scouts de México have planned the 24th World Scout Jamboree for about a decade. Akin to the Olympics in the scouting world, it is held every four years and scouting organizations bid to be hosts.
This year’s meetup was projected to be the largest ever, with an estimated 45,000 scouts and volunteers from around the world gathered to rock climb, zip line, target practice and skateboard. To feed the hungry scouts, there was nearly 20 tons of rice on hand, along with three tons of American cheese and about 190,000 boxes of cereal.
At the international gathering at its Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve, a former coal-mining site nestled in the rocky terrain of the Appalachian Mountains, scouts attended exhibitions to learn about global issues such as climate change, poverty and gender equality.
The U.S. last hosted the world meetup in 1967, when the Boy Scouts was in its heyday and had about six million members. It currently has 2.2 million members, according to the organization. While about 20,000 girls recently joined Scouts BSA and more than 77,000 girls have joined the Cub Scouts, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is ending its long relationship with the organization. The church says it will launch its own youth-leadership program.
The modern Boy Scouts has to compete with videogames and streaming services like Netflix, said spokeswoman Effie Delimarkos. Plus, parents are busier than ever, making it tougher for them to dedicate time to participating in such programs, she said.
In recent years, the Boy Scouts has sharpened efforts to appeal to parents and children. It launched a pilot program offering science, technology, engineering and math classes and also beefed up offerings in activities such as rock climbing, BMX biking and skateboarding at its premier campsites.
Jerry Bru, a 49-year-old scoutmaster from Eden Prairie, Minn., who attended the jamboree, said it is tough for the organization to hold on to young people once they join high school.
“They are being picked off by hockey teams, and football and baseball and basketball and girls,” Mr. Bru said. “It becomes a difficult path for them to continue on sometimes.”
The sex-abuse allegations haven’t helped recruitment and permanently stained the reputation of the Boy Scouts for some parents. Toniann Hernandez, of Staten Island, N.Y., said she won’t let her 9-year-old son join the program. Her son plays baseball instead, she said.
“You hear these stories, and you hear them over and over again,” said Ms. Hernandez, 42. “And you have to protect your kids.”
Many parents with kids in the Boy Scouts said such fears are misguided. Bob Brady, a scoutmaster of an all-girl troop in New Jersey, which includes his two daughters, said he isn’t worried because he knows the precautions the organization takes to protect children. That includes background checks for volunteers, periodic youth-protection training and a policy adopted in 1987 that requires at least two adult leaders be present when interacting with scouts. For girl troops, one of those leaders must be a woman over the age of 21.
“There’s really no concern that people who have conducted themselves in inappropriate ways in the past are going to be let around the children,” said Mr. Brady of Byram, N.J.
The Boy Scouts of America was one of the last scouting organizations in the world to allow girls. About 250 girls from the U.S. attended the jamboree. Overall, girls made up about 40% of total participants.
Alan Lambert, assistant chief scout executive and national director of outdoor adventures for the Boy Scouts, said minimal changes had to be made to accommodate girls at the event and that girls have adapted well to the scouting life.
“They can participate seamlessly just like they are doing this week,” Mr. Lambert said. “That’s a pretty exciting thing.”
Jamboree attendee Bridget Brady, Mr. Brady’s 14-year-old daughter, said she grew up hearing her father’s tales of scouting adventures as a kid at summer camp.
“I just wanted to be able to experience that same thing,” said Bridget, who is also a member of the Girl Scouts. “Now I can.” Boy Scouts Weighs Bankruptcy,Boy Scouts Weighs Bankruptcy,Boy Scouts Weighs Bankruptcy, Boy Scouts Weighs Bankruptcy
Names Of More Alleged Boy Scouts Abusers Are Disclosed
Lawyers release list after Pennsylvania lawsuit by a man who says he was sexually abused during the 1970s.
Lawyers representing about 800 men who say they were victims of childhood sexual abuse in the Boy Scouts of America released names of hundreds of previously undisclosed alleged abusers who had ties to the organization.
The attorneys disclosed the list after filing a civil lawsuit late Monday in Pennsylvania state court by a single plaintiff who said he was abused while a member of the Boy Scouts.
The lawsuit alleges that an assistant scoutmaster sexually abused the plaintiff, identified only as S.D., during the 1970s at the assistant scoutmaster’s home in Pennsylvania and at a campsite in the state. The plaintiff accuses the Boy Scouts and the assistant scoutmaster of conspiring to cover up the incident to avoid civil litigation.
Most of the alleged abusers on the disclosed list aren’t included in the Boy Scouts’ ineligible-volunteer files that are public, and the identities of these people may have been previously unknown to the organization, the lawyers said.
The Boy Scouts add individuals to the ineligible-volunteer list based on known or suspected violations of its policies. About 7,800 people are included in those files, according to court testimony from earlier this year by a professor hired by the Boy Scouts.
Tim Kosnoff, an attorney for the victims, said his team shared the list with the Boy Scouts several weeks ago.
“This is an outrage hiding in plain site,” Mr. Kosnoff said.
The Boy Scouts didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
“We care deeply about all victims of child abuse and sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting,” the organization has previously said. “We believe victims, we support them, and we have paid for unlimited counseling by a provider of their choice.”
The disclosure of the names comes as the Boy Scouts weighs whether to file for bankruptcy because of an expected surge of lawsuits from people alleging they were sexually abused as children. States like New York and New Jersey recently passed laws creating temporary windows allowing sexual-assault lawsuits against individuals and the institutions they were involved with regardless of when the alleged abuse occurred. Other states like California are considering similar changes.
A bankruptcy filing would temporarily halt existing lawsuits and block new ones. Bankruptcy rules give troubled organizations the chance to pool money from their property and set deadlines for victims to come forward.
During chapter 11 proceedings, a federal judge oversees the process that lawyers use to search for more victims, whether through ad campaigns or mailings. Such proceedings could make it easier for some victims to receive compensation and give them more leverage to demand funds.
Mr. Kosnoff’s clients range in age from 14 to 88, with most in their 40s and 50s, he said. They hail from 48 states.
His clients have alleged abuse by more than 350 people who aren’t included in the Boy Scouts’ ineligible-volunteer files, according to the complaint filed Monday. About 65 of the alleged perpetrators were found in the ineligible-volunteer files, according to the list provided by Mr. Kosnoff. The incidents of alleged abuse date as far back as the 1940s.
The alleged victims couldn’t provide enough identifying information for about 100 of the alleged perpetrators to determine if they are in the ineligible-volunteer files. Some of these entries included only partial names or nicknames and details like the alleged incident and the troop number.