The Boy Scouts of America, the iconic organization that controversially began accepting girls three years ago, announced Tuesday that it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
The filing, which was made in Delaware, is directly related to thousands of pending sexual assault lawsuits against the BSA, the New York Times reported. The bankruptcy declaration will bring pending lawsuits to a screeching halt and allow other victims to come forward.
BSA said in an announcement that the bankruptcy proceedings will allow for the organization to "provide equitable compensation to victims" through the creation of the Victims Compensation Trust.Roger Mosby, CEO and president of the BSA, said:
The BSA cares deeply about all victims of abuse and sincerely apologizes to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting. We are outraged that there have been times when individuals took advantage of our programs to harm innocent children.
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.
Michael Pfau, a Seattle-based attorney whose firm is representing at least 300 victims in 34 states, told the New York Daily News that the filing represents "the largest bankruptcy the country has ever seen."
"You're talking about thousands of perpetrators. You're talking about tens of thousands of victims," he said. "This will be the largest bankruptcy the country has ever seen, and likely one of the largest corporate bankruptcies."
In the bankruptcy filing, BSA listed its assets between $1 billion and $10 billion and listed its total liabilities between $500 million and $1 billion, the Associated Press reported.
The Wall Street Journal first reported last month that filing bankruptcy would help the BSA finally protect itself and its assets while allowing the organization to adequately address abuse claims and compensate victims.