Fri. Jan 28th, 2022

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Boy Scouts of America signage appears at its headquarters in Irving, Texas, on February 5, 2013. REUTERS / Tim Sharp

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By Maria Chutchian

(Reuters) – The judge overseeing the bankruptcy of the Boy Scouts of America on Thursday approved the youth organization’s request to sign a $ 850 million deal to resolve tens of thousands of sexual abuse claims.

The ruling by U.S. bankruptcy judge Laurie Selber Silverstein of Delaware will allow the Boy Scouts to move forward with a reorganization plan that will allow the group to emerge from bankruptcy by the end of the year.

“It seems to me that the debtors have complied with the relevant rule,” he said in a court hearing.

The organization has yet to get approval from creditors to move the agreement forward in a formal plan to get out of bankruptcy.

Creditors include victims of abuse, who generally supported the deal.

Founded in 1910, Scouts sought protection from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February 2020 after receiving a flood of lawsuits for sexual abuse.

Claims multiplied after several U.S. states passed laws that would allow charges, including adults, to be filed for charges dating back several decades.

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 that “nothing can undo the tragic abuse suffered by the victims” and that it believed the bankruptcy process was the best way to compensate them.

The deal is backed by 250 local councils, but is opposed by insurers, who say abuse plaintiffs’ representatives have said too much in the negotiations.

Boy Scouts insurers, which include Century Indemnity Company and Hartford Financial Services Group (NYSE :), had argued throughout the bankruptcy process that some claims may be fraudulent.

Unless the Boy Scouts reach a resolution with insurers, they are likely to fight for the final bankruptcy plan.

Nearly 82,000 sexual abuse claims have been filed against Boy Scouts.

In addition to the $ 850 million, the agreement includes the creation of a “child protection committee” designed to ensure the safety of scouts in the future.

Boy Scout lawyers, insurers and victims of abuse are expected to appear before Silverstein on August 25th.

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