NEW YORK, Oct. 18, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The Coalition of Abused Scouts for Justice ("Coalition") announced today that it has successfully negotiated a commitment from the Boy Scouts of America to appoint a Boy Scouts sexual abuse survivor to its National Executive Board as part of the Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan.
"This measure is a critical step toward justice for survivors around the country," said Coalition Co-Founder Ken Rothweiler of Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C. "It was of utmost importance to the Coalition that we secure accountability beyond monetary compensation. Having a survivor in the room when decisions are made means that their voices will be heard well beyond this bankruptcy."
"We heard repeatedly from the thousands of survivors we represent that it's not just about the money, it's about accountability and making sure this never happens again," said Coalition Co-Founder Anne Andrews of Andrews & Thornton. "The only way to do that is to make the Board less opaque, more transparent, and further accountable to the 83,000-person survivor community once this bankruptcy concludes."
"This action to add a survivor to the very top level of its decision-making is going to reverberate far beyond the Boy Scouts," said Adam Slater of Slater Slater Schulman LLP. "It should serve as a clarion call to other institutions facing historical abuse claims, from USA Gymnastics to universities to the Catholic Church."
Additionally, the Coalition announced the launch of its new website, scoutingabusesurvivors.com, to share critical information and updates to the survivor community as they vote from now until December 14, 2021 to approve the Reorganization Plan, which includes the largest sexual abuse settlement fund in history – $1.887 billion and growing.
"When I have the option, I will vote yes, in favor of resolution, certainly to gain an element of closure, but more so because I see a clear future for the BSA, in which it comes back better and safer than before, to benefit young people across the country and through the years," said an Eagle Scout from Texas.
"There are many survivors whose abuse took place decades earlier than mine, or in a state that doesn't have strong laws to protect survivors. That is why I am voting yes – because I fundamentally believe that every survivor deserves to see some measure of justice in their lifetime, and that the BSA needs to be held accountable if this is ever to stop. It's time for the healing to begin," said a former Boy Scout from California.
The Coalition's Plan is expected to increase to include settlements with additional chartered and sponsoring organizations, insurers, and other third parties, further increasing the size of this historic, multibillion-dollar fund. It is broadly supported and will result in meaningful distributions to survivors following confirmation, without lengthy, expensive, and harmful litigation of individual abuse claims. It also includes non-monetary victories implementing safe scouting protocols toward ongoing justice.
Virtual Information Meetings for Survivors
The Coalition will be hosting regular virtual meetings to keep the survivor community apprised of updates ahead of the December 14, 2021 deadline to vote for the Plan. The next virtual meeting will be held Tuesday, October 19, 2021, at 8:00 PM ET. For information on the benefits of The Plan, instructions on how to vote, or access to the next virtual meeting, visit scoutingabusesurvivors.com.
About The Coalition
The Coalition of Abused Scouts for Justice includes approximately 18,000 abuse survivors, represented by law firms who collectively represent more than 63,000 childhood sexual abuse survivors. The Coalition was formed with two common goals: ensuring fair and equitable treatment for abuse survivors; and establishing the largest possible compensation fund for survivors, to be distributed as expeditiously as possible.
Through the efforts of the Coalition over the past year, commitments to the survivors' compensation trust through the Boy Scouts of America's Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan have grown to $1.887 billion, including an $850 million settlement with Boy Scouts of America and local councils, settlements with Hartford Financial Services Group for $787 million and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for $250 million. More settlements are expected.
Andrew Merrill / Brian Schaffer / Joan Vollero
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SOURCE The Coalition of Abused Scouts for Justice