Boy Scouts Files For Bankruptcy In Preparation For Sex Abuse Lawsuits

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With enormous legal costs looming ahead due to sexual abuse allegations, the Boy Scouts of America has filed for bankruptcy protection.

The BSA filed for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 bankruptcy laws reports the Washington Post.

The move comes as the organization scrambles to handle thousands of claims from potential victims who say they were abused as Scouts.

Membership in the 110-year-old organization has dropped dramatically since the 1970s when the BSA had nearly five million members. Today, the organization reports only half that.

In response, the Boy Scouts have attempted to change with the times by adjusting membership requirements. In 2013, openly gay scouts were allowed to take part, followed by openly gay leaders in 2015. And in 2017, rules were changed to allow girls to participate.

But over the last decade, media investigations and lawsuits have uncovered internal Boy Scout documents that reportedly show years and years of alleged abusers were accused of preying on Scouts.

Legal teams across the U.S. have begun signing up clients in anticipation of lawsuits.

One lawyer, Michael Pfau, says he now represents nearly 300 alleged victims. He says the bankruptcy filing “is an acknowledgment finally on the part of the Boy Scouts that they had this enormous problem and the problem is so large they can’t deal with it themselves.”

According to the New York Times, the legal maneuver is “likely to freeze the lawsuits against the group and set a deadline for filing any more claims.”

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“The BSA cares deeply about all victims of abuse and sincerely apologizes to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting,” Roger Mosby, the president and CEO of the Boy Scouts of America, said in a statement released shortly after midnight Tuesday. “While we know nothing can undo the tragic abuse that victims suffered, we believe the Chapter 11 process — with the proposed Trust structure — will provide equitable compensation to all victims while maintaining the BSA’s important mission.”

BSA’s national chairman, Jim Turley, said the organization isn’t trying to avoid responsibility for compensating victims but plans to do so through a victim’s compensation trust as opposed to piecemeal lawsuits.

“I want you to know that we believe you, we believe in compensating you, and we have programs in place to pay for counseling for you and your family by a provider of your choice,” read Turley’s statement in part.

Some of the files that came to light were released in an Oregon case where a jury ultimately held the Scouts liable for $18.5 million in punitive damages in 2010.

A group called Abused in Scouting has been reaching out to individuals who were abused as scouts urging them to come forward. They report finding nearly 2,000 people with complaints.

But time could be of the essence as time limits in bankruptcy cases often have windows of between three to nine months to come forward.

Additionally, statutes of limitations have been a problem for some folks who were sexually abused many years ago.

But several states have moved to set aside those limitations temporarily for sexual abuse victims.

New York state passed a one-year window for such filings last summer, and New Jersey put in place a two-year window in December.

Tim Kosnoff, a lawyer for Abused in Scouting, told the Times, “If you’ve ever considered coming forward, now is the time.”

It’s worth noting today’s bankruptcy filing is a response to alleged sexual abuse that happened long before openly LGBTQ people were allowed to participate. In nearly all of the cases, the alleged abuse occurred decades ago in Boy Scout chapters that were operated by Christian churches.

That said, this writer fully expects the virulently anti-LGBTQ activists to seize on these developments and somehow try to blame the advent of openly gay scouts and leaders.

Legal experts say they see parallels between the Boy Scouts and other organizations that have looked to bankruptcy filings to cope with numerous lawsuits involving sex abuse scandals.

USA Gymnastics filed for bankruptcy in 2018 after 350 sexual assault victims came forward accusing team physician Larry Nassar of inappropriate behavior. And several Catholic dioceses did the same after clergy were accused of covering up sexual abuse of children spanning decades.

More from ABC News:

(sources: Washington Post, New York Times)

News Round-Up: December 16, 2018

Broadway hunk & 'Daddyhunt' star Jim Newman (above) demonstrates that even Santa's elves have to do laundry some time...
Jim Newman (via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

• Broadway hunk & ‘Daddyhunt’ star Jim Newman (above) demonstrates that even Santa’s elves have to do laundry some time…

• San Diego Pride is so successful, the organization has announced that it will be donating more than $170,000 to 59 different LGBTQ-serving charities and organizations around the world.

• Ann Coulter offered her description of the Democratic Party on Laura Ingraham’s show Tuesday night: “The Muslims and the Jews and the various exotic sexual groups and the black church ladies with the college queers”

• Sexual abuse settlements could force the Boy Scouts of America into bankruptcy.

• A new poll by the Washington Post Fact Checker shows 70% of Americans don’t believe Trump’s lies.

• Frankie Grande teams up with his sis, Ariana, for this take on the Act Two opener from RENT, “Seasons of Love,” as part of the #RentSingALong initiative celebrating the upcoming live presentation of the hit musical

RENT will air live on January 27 at 8/7c on FOX. Hit play below.

News Round-Up: May 2, 2018

(image via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

• Yes, in case you were wondering, folks do make passes at guys who wear glasses. Especially if you look like Germany’s Obaid Habibi (above).

• The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved a resolution to recognize the South of Market neighborhood as the Leather and LGBTQ Cultural District, ensuring the location will remain an LGBTQ haven protected from overzealous gentrification efforts.

• The oh-so-handsome Jake Gyllenhaal will portray gay legendary composer (West Side Story, Candide) and conductor Leonard Bernstein in an upcoming film The American. Gyllenhaal is also set to produce the pic.

• As the Boy Scouts prepare to welcome girls into the organization, they are dropping the word ‘boy’ from the name of its signature program. Boy Scouts, which includes kids from 10 to 17, will become Scouts BSA in February.

• Anthony Shelton 20, and Cameron Ajiduah, 19, were sentenced to 20 and 15 years in prison, respectively, after having been found guilty of federal hate-crimes charges for assaulting and robbing gay men in four home invasions in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. The two men used the dating app Grindr to target their victims.

• The two black men who were arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks while waiting for a business colleague have settled with city officials for a symbolic $1 plus the promise to set up a $200,000 program for young entrepreneurs.

• And how about one more shot from “Hunk of the Day,” Mr. Obaid Habibi…

A post shared by O B A I D 🐻 (@obaid_habibi) on Apr 19, 2018 at 9:18am PDT

Boy Scouts & Mexican President Call Out Trump For Making Up Congratulatory Phone Calls

Donald Trump enjoys his flights of fancy

During an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Donald Trump said the Boy Scouts called him to say his speech at last week’s Jamboree was “the greatest speech that was ever made to them.”

The Boy Scouts have countered saying they know of no such phone call being made.

From the AP:

Trump told The Wall Street Journal in an interview published Wednesday, “I got a call from the head of the Boy Scouts saying it was the greatest speech that was ever made to them, and they were very thankful.” Politico published the transcript of the interview.

“We are unaware of any such call,” the Boy Scouts responded in a statement. It specified that neither of the organization’s two top leaders — President Randall Stephenson and Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh — had placed such a call.

The White House had no immediate response to the Boy Scouts’ denial.

Surbaugh apologized last week to members of the scouting community who were offended by the political rhetoric in Trump’s July 24 speech in West Virginia.

Other U.S. presidents have delivered nonpolitical speeches at past jamborees. To the dismay of many parents and former scouts, Trump promoted his political agenda and derided his rivals, inducing some of the scouts in attendance to boo at the mention of former President Barack Obama.

“I want to extend my sincere apologies to those in our Scouting family who were offended by the political rhetoric that was inserted into the jamboree,” Surbaugh said. “That was never our intent.”

During the Boy Scouts section of the interview, Trump grew irritated that a reporter in the room referred to the speech as getting “mixed” reception.

“There was no mix there,” Trump said. “That was a standing ovation from the time I walked out to the time I left, and for five minutes after I had already gone. There was no mix.”

In related news, CBS reports that Trump’s recent claim that Mexican President Nieto called him to congratulate him on such a great job on border control is false.

As Mr. Trump welcomed his new Chief of Staff John Kelly to the Cabinet table on Monday, Mr. Trump took time to applaud the work Kelly had done during his time leading the Department of Homeland Security. “At Homeland, what he has done has been nothing short of miraculous,” Mr. Trump said of Kelly.

He went on, saying, “As you know, the border was a tremendous problem and they’re close to 80 percent stoppage. And even the president of Mexico called me — they said their southern border, very few people are coming because they know they’re not going to get through our border, which is the ultimate compliment.”

But Nieto denies that ever happened. In a statement released by the Mexican Foreign Ministry, Nieto “has not recently spoken to President Donald Trump over the telephone.”

So, is Trump lying? Or is he delusional?

Boy Scouts Of America Apologize For Trump’s Political Rhetoric “Inserted Into The Jamboree”

The Boy Scouts of America have apologized for President Trump’s unexpectedly political rhetoric during his speech at last week’s National Jamboree.

From BSA Chief Scout Executive Michael Surgaugh:

I want to extend my sincere apologies to those in our Scouting family who were offended by the political rhetoric that was inserted into the jamboree. That was never our intent.

The invitation for the sitting U.S. President to visit the National Jamboree is a long-standing tradition that has been extended to the leader of our nation that has had a Jamboree during his term since 1937.

It is in no way an endorsement of any person, party or policies. For years, people have called upon us to take a position on political issues, and we have steadfastly remained non-partisan and refused to comment on political matters. We sincerely regret that politics were inserted into the Scouting program.

As you may know, the BSA received thousands of complaints from scouts and parents alike for the political nature of Trump’s address to the scouts.

Nine Year Old New Jersey Boy Becomes First Transgender Boy Scout

One week after the Boy Scouts of America announced the organization would now accept transgender boys to be scouts, 9 year old Joe Maldonado put on his Cub Scout uniform and joined Pack 20 in Maplewood, NJ.

From NorthJersey.com:

Scouting’s decision to change its longtime policy came about a month after The Record reported that Joe had been thrown out of a Cub Scout pack in Secaucus last year because he was born a girl. The decision was at least in part a response to the national debate generated by that story.

“This is fun; I’m so proud,” Joe, 9, said during the meeting. He said that the best part of the night was that “I am accepted, and I’m actually in Boy Scouts.”

The leader of Joe’s new Scouting pack, which serves Maplewood and South Orange, said after the meeting that Joe’s presence was “historic” because he had become Scouting’s first openly transgender member. He praised Joe for showing “an immense amount of courage.”

Kyle Hackler, the leader of his new pack, helped him put on his uniform and kerchief, and taught him the Cub Scout salute and oath. The meeting was held at the Clinton Elementary school in Maplewood.

“This means you’re the same as Scouts all over the world,” Hackler said to Joe.

Watch Joe’s happy face as he wears his Cub Scout uniform for the first time here.

Boy Scouts Of America Will Allow Transgender Scouts

The Dallas Morning News is reporting that, beginning immediately, the Boy Scouts of America will allow transgender youth who identify as boys to enroll in scouting programs:

The organization announced it had made the decision to begin basing enrollment in its boys-only programs on the gender a child or parent lists on the application to become a scout. The organization had previously held a policy that relied on the gender listed on a child’s birth certificate for those programs.

Rebecca Rausch, a spokeswoman for the organization, emailed a statement Monday. She said the organization’s leadership had considered a recent case in Secaucus, New Jersey, where an 8-year-old transgender child had been asked to leave his Scout troop after parents and leaders found out he is transgender, but the change was made because of the larger conversation about gender identity going on around the country.

“For more than 100 years, the Boy Scouts of America, along with schools, youth sports and other youth organizations, have ultimately deferred to the information on an individual’s birth certificate to determine eligibility for our single-gender programs,” the statement said. “However, that approach is no longer sufficient as communities and state laws are interpreting gender identity differently, and these laws vary widely from state to state.”

New Jersey: 8 Year Old Transgender Boy Barred From Cub Scout Pack

(via WNBC)

While the Boy Scouts of America have taken long looks and made some decisions on openly gay scouts participating in their organization, the issues surrounding transgender kids is now getting some national focus as a Cub Scout pack in Secaucus, NJ, is barring an 8 year old trans boy.

Dawn Ennis at LGBTQ Nation reports:

One month after 8-year-old Joe Maldonado of Secaucus, N.J. joined Cub Scout Pack 87, his mother received a call that the troop sponsored by their local Catholic church had barred her son from participating. The reason, she told reporters, is because her son was assigned the gender of female at birth. Joe is a transgender boy.

And he told the Star-Ledger he’s not so much sad as he is mad.

“It made me mad. I had a sad face, but I wasn’t crying. I’m way more angry than sad. My identity is a boy. If I was them, I would let every person in the world go in. It’s right to do.”

He had joined in October with the intention of camping, conducting science experiments, and all the other fun things Cub Scouts do, like learning how to tie a variety of knots, use a pocket knife, and go on hikes with his friends. Joe’s classmates not only like him, his mother said, but some of them play with him on a boys basketball team. His school teachers have used male pronouns and have accepted him as the boy he is since second grade, Kristie Maldonado told the newspaper.

“Not one of the kids said, ‘You don’t belong here,’” said Maldonado. It wasn’t the boys in their pack; reportedly, it was their moms.

Eric Chamberlin, an executive with the Northern New Jersey Council of Boy Scouts, based in Oakland, N.J., confirmed to the paper that he called Maldonado last month, but he declined to comment further.

Effie Delimarkos, the communications director for the Boy Scouts of America, told the Star-Ledger in a statement the Boy Scouts consider membership for transgender children to be a separate issue from that of gay children.

“No youth may be removed from any of our programs on the basis of his or her sexual orientation,” and “Gender identity isn’t related to sexual orientation.”

The Boy Scouts spokeswoman declined to directly address the Secaucus troop issue and did not answer inquiries about whether local or state Scouting leaders contacted the national office about Joe Maldonado.

But in her statement, Delimarkos made it clear that “the classification on the participant’s birth certificate” would be used to “confirm legal status.”

Chamberlin did not ask to examine Joe’s birth certificate, the boy’s mother told the paper. If the Boy Scouts have ever examined birth certificates for the gender markers, Delimarkos wouldn’t say. And she declined to say whether the Scouts have a written transgender policy.

Mormon Dad Gets Choked Up That His Son Doesn’t Hate Gays Enough

Quin Monson, a professor at Brigham Young University, a former scout and father of a current Boy Scout, spoke to NPR radio recently about the Boy Scouts of America’s recent decision to lift the ban on gay scout leaders.

“The (Mormon) church took the Boy Scout program and decided its values and mission aligned closely enough with that of the church’s program for young men that they just wholesale adopted it,” Monson said. “Basically, if you are a young Mormon male, you join the Boy Scouts.”

Bu the new policy by the BSA doesn’t sit well with Monson even if he can’t articulate what exactly bothers him about it.

“The BSA statement allows for leaders who are openly gay and what that means in practice is, I don’t think, exactly clear. But I think that it very well could conflict with the church’s own policy which is, ‘You can identify as gay and be an active, faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.’ The problem is acting on that same-sex attraction, so there’s a distinction between actions and orientation.”

Monson actually sounds despondent and chokes up when he explains that his son just doesn’t see the problem with allowing gay scout leaders. Isn’t that supposed to be a good thing? When children don’t embrace the biases and bigotry that’s come before them?

Manson explained how a chat with his son went regarding having openly gay scout leaders went something like this:

“He’s a pretty deep thinker, and a thoughtful kid, but his reaction was, ‘Well, I don’t see why it matters, dad. Why is this such a big deal?'” Monson explained.

“That’s the hard part about all of this is that it impacts a group of young men who don’t necessarily understand why,” Monson said, getting choked up.

You can listen below. The “emotional” moment comes at around the 3:20 mark.

Matt Baume Explains New Rules Regarding Openly Gay Scout Leaders

Matt Baume explains the new rule change at the Boy Scouts of America allowing gay scout leaders, and whether that means any young scouts are now at more risk.

(Here’s a hint: nope)

While 79% of the National Executive Board of The Boy Scouts of America voted to lift its nation-wide ban on gay adult scout leaders, local chapters are still allowed to decide whether they will discriminate against gay scout leaders.

“The Boy Scouts are a private group, and they’re free to decide who can be a member. In fact, individual chapters are still allowed to deny access to LGBT leaders. Non-discrimination laws just don’t apply here, like they do for public facilities and businesses.”

Got that? Private and religious organizations are NOT under attack. Sorry to disappoint you there, Bryan Fischer.

A former scout himself, Baume explains why having openly gay scout leaders will make a difference in the lives of LGBT youth:

“I didn’t know that I was gay when I was a 7 year-old Boy Scout. I just knew that I was different. And nothing would have been more important to me than to know that I wasn’t alone. And when I got a little older to have seen that people like me aren’t a threat and are just as trustworthy, and helpful and loyal as anyone else.”