Boy Scouts bankruptcy judge to rule on $850 million sex abuse deal

The Boy Scouts of America headquarters in Irving

By Maria Chutchian

(Reuters) – The judge overseeing the Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy is poised to rule Thursday afternoon on the youth organization’s request to sign off on a $850 million settlement to resolve tens of thousands of sex abuse claims.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Laurie Selber Silverstein in Wilmington, Delaware, will issue her ruling from the bench around 3 p.m. ET (19:00 GMT).

If she gives preliminary approval to the deal, the Boy Scouts will be able to move ahead with a proposed reorganization plan that would allow the group to exit bankruptcy by the end of the year.

Founded in 1910, the Boy Scouts filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February 2020 after being hit with a flood of sexual abuse lawsuits.

The Boy Scouts have apologized and said they are committed to fulfilling their “social and moral responsibility to equitably compensate survivors.” The organization has said “nothing can undo the tragic abuse that victims suffered” and that it believed the bankruptcy process was the best way to compensate them.

The settlement is backed by 250 local councils but opposed by insurers, who say representatives of the abuse claimants had too much say in the negotiations.

About 82,000 sex abuse claims have been filed against the Boy Scouts.

In addition to the $850 million, the settlement includes the creation of a “child protection committee” designed to ensure safety for Scouts moving forward.

(Reporting by Maria Chutchian; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Steve Orlofsky)