The Boy Scouts of America youth organization has filed for bankruptcy amid mounting legal expenses due to a string of sexual assault cases going back decades.
In April 2019, it was revealed that the organization had kept files on sexual abusers in its ranks since the end of World War I. From 1944 there have been almost 8,000 perpetrators and over 12,000 victims the organization knew of, while the Boy Scouts said at the time that all known instances had been reported to the police.
In recent months, hundreds of new abuse cases have been reported.
“If you’ve ever considered coming forward, now is the time,” attorney Tim Kosonoff, who has worked on numerous Boy Scout cases, told the New York Times.
“I want you to know that we believe you, we believe in compensating you, and we have programs in place to pay for counseling for you and your family,” Jim Turley, the national chair of the Boy Scouts, wrote in a letter declaring the organization’s bankruptcy. Many of the organization’s activities will continue in the meantime.
“Scouting programs will continue throughout this process and for many years to come,” read a statement from the Boy Scouts. “Local councils are not filing for bankruptcy because they are legally separate and distinct organizations.
The Boy Scouts has undergone several changes in the past decade, including adding certain programs for girls.