Alleged victims of sexual abuse at the hands of Boy Scouts leaders are worried they might not get the compensation they are seeking after the Irving-based organization filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
The legal maneuver would protect local councils from hundreds of sex abuse lawsuits. But, it also means victims may not get legal settlements they say they deserve.
Court documents show the Boy Scouts assets listed as between $1 billion and $10 billion and its liabilities from $500 million to $1 billion.
Dallas attorney Michelle Simpson Tuegel represents some former Boy Scouts and said their collective voice is critical.
“What my clients really want to see is action in that policies are changed and this stops happening and that the Boy Scouts make it right,” Simpson Tuegel said.
Simpson Tuegel said she understands what happens when the defendant files bankruptcy.
“My initial reaction to my clients is it's not the end of the road because they often see bankruptcy and think it's over there's no way for me to get compensated, I have no process, my rights are done. And that is not true. And I have seen that with my clients who have been going through the bankruptcy with the USA Gymnastics bankruptcy,” she said.
Simpson Tuegel represented Olympic and national team gymnasts abused by Larry Nassar, suing Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics.
“I have seen that while all 500 survivors in that bankruptcy have not had a voice and had their day in court, there is at least a collective voice, and I think ultimately, they will be able to obtain compensation it's just not quite the same as having your lawsuit filed, getting your right to a jury trial and being heard,” she said.
Attorney Tim Kosnoff is with the group Abused In Scouting, a consortium of law firms representing about 2,000 alleged victims of the Boy Scouts.
“The filing is akin to the Boy Scouts pleading guilty, this is a guilty plea, they are filing bankruptcy, the allegations they acknowledge are true,” Kosnoff claimed.
In an open letter to victims, the national chair for the Boy Scouts of America said in part, "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."
In addition, the Boy Scouts now say they have some of the strongest youth protection policies including mandatory training and background checks.