Churches Could Be Liable In Sex Abuse Claims Due To Boy Scouts Bankruptcy

Empty church with stained-glass window - Church liability in sex abuse claim

Churches who have ever chartered or hosted a Boy Scouts of America (BSA) troop may wish to seek legal counsel because BSA’s bankruptcy could cause them to be named in future sex abuse claims.

BSA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and reorganization February to limit their liability in sex abuse claims and establish a trust to pay the claims. Indemnification clauses will no longer apply due to the Chapter 11 and liability might end up falling to churches with an association with specific troops which are named in lawsuits.

Churches sued by former Boy Scouts who claim they were molested in the church’s troop typically turn to BSA and request that BSA hold them harmless and insure them, as BSA told them they would, but BSA will no longer have a responsibility to do this after bankruptcy reorganization.

Churches can maintain indemnification and gain access to the claims trust by filing a “placeholder” claim by November 16. There may not be coverage for those who don’t file a claim by the November 16 deadline.

Churches can essentially file a placeholder claim stating they may, in the future, see a claim filed against them by a former Boy Scout, so they’re filing the claim now so they won’t be barred when it happens in the future.

Individual churches may wish to consult legal counsel about whether they should file a placeholder claim by November 16.

Victim’s Coalition Can Take Part In BSA Mediation Talks

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Laurie Selber Silverstein said Friday that a victim’s coalition representing 7,500 people alleging child sex abuse at the hands of BSA can participate in mediation talks in BSA’s Chapter 11 case.

The judge said the coalition can take part in the mediation process if they undertake measures to protect confidentiality regarding documents that alleged victims aren’t entitled to receive.

Deadline For Boy Scouts Sex Abuse Claims In Bankruptcy Is November 16, 2020

The deadline to file a “proof of claim” form in the movement to hold BSA accountable for sexual abuse in its bankruptcy proceedings is November 16, 2020.

Sexual abuse survivors must file a proof of claim form to explain the whos, whats, whens, wheres and hows regarding the abuse in order to be included as one of the “debtors” in BSA’s payment plan.

Claim forms will require names of abusers, history of BSA membership, information about the abuse, a description of harm caused by the abuse and general personal history.


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