SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Savannah attorney Mark Tate has an opinion about Tuesday’s announcement that the Boy Scouts of America is filing for Chapter 11 stemming from lawsuits over the sex abuse scandal over the years.
“This Boy Scout bankruptcy is really a signal that they should have been held accountable all along,” Tate told us.
Tate has settled up to 15 cases in Georgia, representing adult victims who say they were abused as young boy scouts.
“There have been many many cases against the Boy Scouts of America right here in Savannah and they’re dreadful cases,” said Tate. “And many that we have had were actually perpetrated by a man that the Boy Scouts knew was abusive and had a history of abuse and they didn’t properly supervise him.”
Tate told us that man is now in prison.
The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) says 90% of pending cases and alleged abuse claims related to cases that happened more than 30 years ago.
Tate says there were likely warnings and complaints over the years but that the organization “got to keep their money while they were doing things wrong like failing to properly supervise their volunteers.
Revelations that began up to a decade ago about abuse have resulted in up to 300 cases nationwide. Tate says several states have expanded their parameters on the statute of limitations for these claims which has resulted in more lawsuits. He believes the bankruptcy is an attempt to limit dollar settlements for individual litigants.
He says as now anyone who files a case will have it immediately transferred to the bankruptcy court where it will be handle.
in an open letter, National Chair of Boy Scouts of America Jim Turley offered an apology saying in the past they failed to protect the “very children they were supposed to protect.” Turley also said BSA is restructuring to help all victims through a victim’s compensation fund.
“My thought is that this is an interesting thing to say that they’re going to try to compensate all the victims but I don’t necessarily think that their corporate PR statements now coincide with what actually happened over the years,” said Tate.
BSA says there are more programs are in place now to ensure safety
“The BSA cares deeply about all victims of abuse and sincerely apologizes to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting,” we were told in an Emailed statement.
The statement also said “Scouting programs will continue throughout this process and for many years to come. Local Councils are not filing for bankruptcy as they are legally separate and distinct organizations.”
BSA says it has partnered with 1in6 which it termed a “trusted national resource of male survivors” so that victims can anonymously access support services.