Representing 300 victims of the Boy Scouts of America, prominent New York City lawyer Jordan Merson told The New York Post, “The Boy Scouts of America has again turned a blind eye to survivors by rushing through a plan without any support that is grossly inadequate to compensate sexual abuse victims.”
Attorney Jordan Merson is of course talking about the horrific, multiple allegations of child sexual abuse brought against the BSA spanning over 100 years.
“We will continue to fight for survivors.”
Merson explained that the victims will eventually get to vote on whether to confirm the BSA’s plan — and the attorney said he doesn’t believe the proposal will go through.
“It’s so obvious that none of the local councils are putting in enough money,” Merson charged.
Merson said that there are a total of 261 local councils and believes just “the New York share should be hundreds of millions of dollars.”
So, why is this all happening?
Well, the Boy Scouts of America has put forward a plan in its bankruptcy case that would only pay each victim of sexual abuse an average of $6,000, according to the victims’ lawyers.
The new proposal, laid out in federal bankruptcy court in Delaware, proposes that the national organization pays $200 million to the 85,000 victims who have brought claims against the BSA while the local councils would contribute another $300 million, according to the court papers.
The victims’ lawyers say the plan would bar their clients from bringing any future lawsuits against the organization, and it leaves them in the dark about how much each local council is pitching in toward the settlement.
“This plan would be a cruel injustice to tens of thousands of abuse survivors who have suffered through decades of trauma due to horrific abuse at the hands of Boy Scout leaders,” said Michael Pfau, a lawyer who represents over a thousand victims.
“The Boy Scout plan proposes an average of about $6,000 per abuse survivor, which is patently offensive coming from an entity that attempted to hide what may be the largest sexual abuse scandal in history and has billions of dollars in assets.”
Ralph Morse, who alleges he was abused by a scout leader in the 1960s, said in a statement that he doesn’t think victims should approve the plan.
“I don’t know how any abuse survivor could vote in favor of BSA’s plan without knowing how much each council has in available assets, how many claims there are against each local council, how much each council is contributing, and how much people with claims against each council are getting,” Morse said.
“The Boy Scouts are still hiding their files on thousands of alleged perpetrators, and now they are trying to hide these basic details that people need to know to make sure they are getting a fair deal,” Morse said.
“The only thing that is clear is that BSA has no real interest in being held accountable.”
Century Indemnity Company, an insurer of BSA which is a party in the case, says it also doesn’t support the proposal as it alleges that there are tens of thousands of “invalid” claims that need to be weeded out first.
“Century supports a fair resolution for survivors of sexual abuse, but this plan doesn’t get us there,” the insurer’s lawyer, Tancred Schiavoni said in a statement. “Allowing invalid and fraudulent claims will hurt valid survivors of sexual abuse by delaying and diluting any compensation they may receive.”
The BSA said the plan is not finalized and it will continue to work on it.
“The plan demonstrates that considerable progress has been made as we continue to work with all parties toward achieving our strategy to provide equitable compensation for victims and address our other financial obligations so that we can continue to serve youth for years to come,” the BSA said in a statement.
“There are still many aspects of the plan that we are refining through ongoing mediation, but the amended plan is an important step in demonstrating progress that we believe will ultimately lead to a final plan that the Bankruptcy Court will confirm.”
The BSA also plans to release a more “detailed breakdown of the process to compensate survivors and more details about how local councils will support this effort.”
“We are hopeful we can come to a resolution that is in the best interest of survivors and all parties and can emerge from Chapter 11 by this fall,” the BSA said.