No local financial impact after Boy Scouts of America files for bankruptcy

Local News

A national organization that has millions of youth members is filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.

In an e-mail to scouting families, Boy Scouts of America says it made the move amid increasing financial pressure from litigation involving past abuse in scouting.

The process would allow the national organization to compensate victims.

National leaders in the organization say about 90% of the pending and asserted claims against Boys Scouts of America are related to abuse that occurred more than 30 years ago.

CBS News spoke to a man who says he was molested by his scout leader decades ago in New York.

“John Brown was an extremely large man, six foot three, four, 260 pounds. He always put three of us in the front seat of a car, for pizza and soda, and back those days, the stick shift is on the column, so when you’re shifting gears. His hand would drop into your lap. Now this guy’s hand was as big as my head, so what am I supposed to do, jump out of the car? Scream? Run? I mean, it– it was terrifying,” Morse said.

In the letter, Boy Scouts of America says scouting is now safer than ever before.

But what does filing for bankruptcy at the national level mean locally?

Tom Smotherman first learned about the Boy Scouts of America filing for bankruptcy Monday night.

“Can’t say that I was real surprised. The national organization has been looking at all types of restructuring possibilities over the past several months,” Scout Executive Tom Smotherman said.

Smotherman is the Scout Executive for the Sioux Council Boy Scouts of America, headquartered in Sioux Falls.

“Sioux Council is legally seperate and distinct and financially independent of the national organization,” Smotherman said.

Smotherman says that means it will be business as usual for its members.

Because the council is financially independent, Smotherman says support from families and communities is key.

“We appreciate everything they’ve done for us. We want to make sure that scouting is a safe place for their young people, and have the best quality program we can deliver, and again, trying to develop those young people into the best citizens that they can be to serve our communities in the future,” Smotherman said.

In its email, BSA says no local councils have filed for bankruptcy.

You can read more about the restructuring by clicking here.

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