(CBS) The Boy Scouts of America is exploring a range of options to address it’s increasingly shaky financial situation. Those may include declaring bankruptcy, with the more than century-old organization facing rising legal fees due to lawsuits over its handling of sexual abuse allegations.
In a Dec. 12 letter to employees released by the nonprofit organization, Mike Surbaugh, its chief scout executive, said the nonprofit is “working with experts to explore all options available” to keep the organization’s local and national programs running.
The Boy Scouts has hired law firm Sidley Austin to explore a potential chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, according to The Wall Street Journal. Seeking protection from its debts would stop multiple lawsuits over alleged sexual abuse by Boy Scout workers and volunteers going back decades, while giving the organization space to negotiate with those who sued, according to the newspaper.
The Boy Scouts have a responsibility to “fairly compensate victims who suffered abuse during their time in scouting,” wrote Surbaugh, who added the scouts never knowingly allowed a sexual predator to work with youth.
“We have always taken care of victims – we believe them, we believe in fairly compensating them and we have paid for unlimited counseling, by a provider of their choice, regardless of the amount of time that has passed since an instance of abuse,” he wrote.
The group’s latest annual report describes the scout’s future finances as partly dependent on how litigation related to sex-abuses cases is resolved and any damages are awarded. In the filing, Boy Scout officials said they were “aware of threatened and expanding litigation of a similar nature.”
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