The national organization of the Boy Scouts of America (“BSA”) has filed a chapter 11 bankruptcy case. The Bankruptcy Court has set a deadline for filing claims against BSA for sexual abuse that took place on or before February 18, 2020, which is the date that BSA filed for bankruptcy. To read a summary form of the sexual abuse proof of claim bar date notice, please click here.
This case is filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, and the case is known as In re Boy Scouts of America and Delaware BSA, LLC, No. 20-10343 (Bankr. D. Del.). The Bankruptcy Court judge overseeing the case is Judge Laurie Selber Silverstein.
For additional information about what the BSA hopes to achieve through the chapter 11 process, what the BSA is doing to support survivors and how the BSA protects the youth in its programs today, please visit BSArestructuring.org.
Why have I received a notice?
The Bankruptcy Court authorized BSA to send out notices about your right to file a claim and the deadline by which to file claims. You have the right to file a claim in the bankruptcy case if you were sexually abused in connection with Scouting, regardless of how old you are today. You are required to file a Sexual Abuse Survivor Proof of Claim so that it is actually received by Omni Agent Solutions on or before November 16, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Time).
To read a summary form of the sexual abuse proof of claim bar date notice, please click here.
What is Chapter 11?
Chapter 11 is a form of bankruptcy that involves the reorganization of a debtor’s business affairs, debts, and assets. Organizations generally file for chapter 11 bankruptcy if they require time to restructure their debts and obligations. In most cases, the debtor (the bankruptcy filer), called a debtor in possession, runs the business, until a plan of reorganization is confirmed and the debtor emerges from bankruptcy, which is the main objective of the case.
What is considered sexual abuse?
You have a Sexual Abuse Claim if you experienced sexual abuse in Scouting, as described below. The sexual abuse must have occurred on or before February 18, 2020.
For the purposes of submitting a Sexual Abuse Survivor Proof of Claim, sexual abuse means, with respect to a child under the age of eighteen (18) at the time of the sexual abuse:
- Sexual conduct or misconduct, sexual abuse or molestation, sexual exploitation, sexual touching, sexualized interaction, sexual comments about a person's body, or other verbal or non-verbal behaviors that facilitated, contributed to, or led up to abuse, regardless of whether or not such behavior was itself sexual or against the law, and regardless of whether the child thought the behavior was sexual abuse at the time.
- Sexual abuse includes behavior between a child and an adult and between a child and another child, in each instance without regard to whether such activity involved explicit force, whether such activity involved genital or other physical contact, and whether the child associated the abuse with any physical, psychological, or emotional harm.
- Sexual abuse involves behaviors including penetration or fondling of the child's body, other body-on-body contact, or non-contact, behaviors such as observing or making images of a child's naked body, showing or making pornography, or having children behave in sexual behavior as a group.
If you have a claim arising from other types of abuse, including non-sexual physical abuse, non-sexual emotional abuse, bullying or hazing, OR if you have a claim arising from sexual abuse and you were at least eighteen (18) years of age at the time the sexual abuse began, you should consult the Notice of Deadlines Requiring Filing of Proof of Claim and file a General Proof of Claim (Official Bankruptcy Form 410).
For the avoidance of doubt, if you have a claim for sexual abuse and you were a child under the age of eighteen (18) when the sexual abuse began you must submit a Sexual Abuse Survivor Proof of Claim.
Who should file a Sexual Abuse Survivor Proof of Claim?
You should file a Sexual Abuse Survivor Proof of Claim if you have a Sexual Abuse Claim as defined above. You should file a Sexual Abuse Survivor Proof of Claim regardless of whether you:
- Did or did not report your sexual abuse to BSA or to anyone else;
- Believe the applicable statute of limitations may have run on your Sexual Abuse Claim;
- Previously filed a lawsuit or asserted claims in connection with the sexual abuse against BSA and/or a BSA Local Council or organization that sponsored your troop or pack;
- Previously had your Sexual Abuse Claim paid in full by BSA under a settlement, but you believe you may have additional claims beyond what was agreed to in the settlement agreement;
- Are included in, or represented by, another action with respect to your Sexual Abuse Claim.
You should submit a Sexual Abuse Survivor Proof of Claim regardless of your age now or the length of time that has passed since the abuse took place.
Even if the applicable state statute of limitations has run on your Sexual Abuse Claim, you should still file your claim.
Statutes of limitation are laws passed by a legislative body in each state that sets the maximum time after an event or discovery of an event when a lawsuit may be filed. Statutes of limitation vary by state.
You do not need to file a Sexual Abuse Survivor Proof of Claim if you are a “future claimant.” Future claimants are individuals who (1) were under the age of 18 as of February 18, 2020; and/or (2) are not aware of their sexual abuse claim as a result of “repressed memory,” to the extent this concept is recognized by the highest court of the state or territory where the sexual abuse occurred.
The court has appointed a Future Claimants’ Representative to represent your rights in the bankruptcy case.
As stated above, do not file a Sexual Abuse Survivor Proof of Claim if your claim is based on anything other than sexual abuse as defined above. If you have a claim arising from other types of non-sexual abuse, including non-sexual physical abuse, non-sexual emotional abuse, bullying or hazing, OR if you have a claim arising from sexual abuse and you were at least eighteen (18) years of age at the time the sexual abuse began, you should consult the Notice of Deadlines Requiring Filing of Proof of Claim and file a General Proof of Claim (Official Bankruptcy Form 410). What if I am still not sure if I have a Sexual Abuse Claim?
What if I am still not sure if I have a Sexual Abuse Claim?
You should consult with an attorney if you have any questions, including whether you should file a Sexual Abuse Survivor Proof of Claim.
How can I file my Sexual Abuse Survivor Proof of Claim?
If you have not previously submitted a proof of claim, you need to submit a Sexual Abuse Survivor Proof of Claim so that it is actually received by Omni Agent Solutions on or before 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) on November 16, 2020. You can submit it electronically or by mail, please click on the link below for instructions. If you have questions you can contact your attorney or call 1-866-907-2721 to speak to the Claims Agent. The Claims Agent can provide information about how to file a claim, but cannot offer any legal advice.
Will my information be kept confidential?
Yes, subject to the limitations described below. The Bankruptcy Court has set up a procedure to protect your privacy. In order to protect your privacy, please do not file your Sexual Abuse Survivor Proof of Claim with the Bankruptcy Court. Instead, you must file according to the directions above. Sexual Abuse Survivor Proofs of Claim will not be available to the public unless you choose to release that information.
Unless you elect otherwise on the Sexual Abuse Survivor Proof of Claim, your identity and your Sexual Abuse Survivor Proof of Claim will be kept confidential and outside the public record. However, information about your Sexual Abuse Claim will be confidentially provided, pursuant to Bankruptcy Court-approved guidelines, to the following parties: Counsel and retained advisors to BSA; officers, directors, and employees of BSA necessary to assist BSA and their counsel in reviewing and analyzing the Sexual Abuse Claims; the Claims Agent (Omni Agent Solutions); the Tort Claimants’ Committee; counsel to the Ad Hoc Committee of Local Councils (with all personally identifiable information redacted); individual BSA Local Councils solely with respect to Sexual Abuse Claims asserted against them; the Office of the United States Trustee for the District of Delaware; The United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware; certain insurers of BSA, including authorized claims administrators of such insurers and their reinsurers and counsel; the Future Claimants’ Representative; any special arbitrator, mediator, or claims reviewer appointed to review and resolve Sexual Abuse Claims; any trustee, or functional equivalent thereof, appointed to administer payments to holders of Sexual Abuse Claims; anyone with the express written consent of BSA, the Tort Claimants’ Committee appointed by this Court to represent holders of Sexual Abuse Claims, and the Future Claimants’ Representative upon 7 business days’ notice to holders of Sexual Abuse Claims; and such other persons that the Court determines need the information in order to evaluate Sexual Abuse Claims.
Please note that information in your Sexual Abuse Survivor Proof of Claim may be disclosed to governmental authorities under mandatory reporting laws in many jurisdictions.
Where Can I Get Support?
BSA will continue to fund in-person counseling for any current or former Scout or member of their family by a provider of their choice, when they are ready to take that step. To request in-person counseling, please call 1 866-907-2721 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How Do I Report Abuse?
Reporting the sexual abuse protects other children by ensuring that perpetrators are barred from Scouting and are reported to law enforcement. You can learn more about how to report the sexual abuse at https://childwelfare.gov/topics/responding/reporting/hoh/. If you have not previously reported the sexual abuse to BSA, please call 1-866-907-2721 or email email@example.com.
Please know that reporting sexual abuse is different than filing a claim in BSA’s bankruptcy case.
What could be released under the plan of reorganization?
Please note that only BSA is a debtor in BSA’s chapter 11 proceeding and other third parties, such as the BSA Local Councils and chartered organizations, are not. If you believe you may have a claim against one of these organizations, you must take additional legal action to preserve and pursue such claim.
The chapter 11 plan of reorganization may contain broad releases of BSA and certain third parties and related injunction provisions. If approved, these provisions could release claims you hold against BSA and certain third parties, including against BSA Local Councils and organizations that sponsored your troop or pack. Also if approved, these provisions would prohibit you from filing lawsuits against BSA and certain third parties related to any Sexual Abuse Claim. Instead, a proposed chapter 11 plan for BSA could channel these claims to a trust for Sexual Abuse Survivors. Please note that a chapter 11 plan has not yet been proposed for solicitation or agreed to by any parties in interest in BSA’s chapter 11 proceeding. Once it becomes available for solicitation, you should carefully review the full text of the plan of reorganization release, injunction, and related provisions and any applicable release provision at OfficialBSAClaims.com.
What happens if I do not file a Sexual Abuse Survivor Proof of Claim?
If you fail to submit a completed Sexual Abuse Survivor Proof of Claim to the Claims Agent on or before November 16, 2020, you may not be able to (1) vote on BSA’s plan of reorganization; or (2) receive any compensation in BSA bankruptcy case for your Sexual Abuse Claim.
YOU MAY WANT TO CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY REGARDING
WHETHER YOU SHOULD FILE A SEXUAL ABUSE SURVIVOR PROOF OF CLAIM.