Boy Scouts Seek Bankruptcy Amid Abuse Scandal – No Changes for NJ Councils
It will be business and activity as usual for New Jersey's Boy Scout councils as the national organization files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
The filing is an attempt to work out a potentially mammoth compensation plan for victims of sex-abuse and put their lawsuits on hold.
Scores of lawyers are seeking settlements on behalf of several thousand men who say they were molested as boys by scout leaders decades ago. A change in New Jersey law in 2019 removed statutes of limitation on reporting cases, opening the door to cases from the '60s, '70s and '80s.
The organization could be forced to sell off some of its vast property holdings to raise money for a compensation fund that could surpass $1 billion.
The Boy Scouts of America stressed in its announcement that local councils are separate entities and are not affected by the filings of the Boy Scouts of America
A check of New Jersey council websites and Facebook pages, including the Garden State Council in South Jersey, the Northern New Jersey Council, the Patriots Path Council and Washington Crossing Council covering Hunterdon and Mercer counties, found no messages from local leadership. Most of them linked to statements from the Boy Scouts of America.
Jim Gillick, CEO of the Jersey Shore Council of the Boys Scouts of America, in a statement said "unit meetings and activities, district and council events, other scouting adventures and countless service projects will take place as usual. In short, we expect no changes to the local Scouting experience along the Jersey Shore."
Rebecca Fields, CEO from the Northern New Jersey Boy Scouts sent a similar response.
They also said that scouting is safer than ever because of safeguards put in place because of the allegations.
The Boy Scouts of America national leadership sent an email on Tuesday morning to all its members with the same messages.
Jeff Anderson, whose law firm has actively sought cases from New Jersey scouts who say that they have been molested, believes the Boy Scouts of America is using the filing to keep the names of predators a secret.
“I don’t believe that this legal maneuver by the Boy Scouts of America will stop survivors from coming forward and shining a light on the perpetrators and perilous practices hidden by the organization,” said Anderson, who has represented Scout abuse survivors for decades.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.