Boy Scouts Start Ad Campaign Regarding Abuse Victim Compensation
Boy Scouts of America (BSA), under a bankruptcy judge’s supervision, has started an ad campaign to tell sexual abuse victims they have until November 16 to file sexual abuse claims.
The ad campaign directs victims to an official BSA website which suggests that victims may benefit from asking an attorney if they have a valid claim, and says victims should file a claim no matter how long ago the sexual abuse happened.
Law firms claim they have signed up thousands of BSA abuse clients since BSA filed for bankruptcy in February and some lawyers have predicted over 20,000 claims will be filed by the November deadline.
The ad campaign started on Monday and is estimated to cost $6.8 million. It will run through October 17 and includes online, television, radio and print ads in English and Spanish which are expected to be seen or heard by over 100 million people.
It is not known yet how large the bankruptcy compensation fund will end up being. It is expected that BSA will contribute much of its assets to the fund, including real estate and financial investments. BSA’s insurers will also contribute to the fund but they are attempting to limit how much they contribute.
It is not yet known how much BSA’s approximately 260 local councils will give to the compensation fund. BSA has said these councils are separate legal entities and thus shouldn’t be debtors. A committee representing the local councils is negotiating their contributions.
The official BSA website which the ad campaign directs victims to contains the question, “What if I am still not sure if I have a Sexual Abuse Claim?” The website answers this question by instructing victims to “consult with an attorney if you have any questions.”
The website instructs victims to file a claim regardless of whether they:
• Did or didn’t tell anyone about the abuse;
• Think the statute of limitations might have expired on their claim;
• Have previously filed a lawsuit or asserted claims in connection with the abuse;
• Have previously had an abuse claim paid in full by BSA via a settlement, but think they might have more claims;
• Are represented by or included in another action with respect to their abuse claim.
The website warns victims of sexual abuse that if they do not file a claim by November 16, 2020, they may not be able to receive any compensation in the BSA bankruptcy case for their sexual abuse.