10/01/21

Boy Scouts’ bankruptcy creates rift with religious partners

Amid the Boy Scouts of America’s complex bankruptcy case, there is worsening friction between the organization and the major religious groups that help it run thousands of Scout units. At issue: the churches’ fears that an eventual settlement — while protecting the Boy Scouts of America from future sex-abuse lawsuits — could leave many churches unprotected.

The Boy Scouts sought bankruptcy protection in February 2020 in an effort to halt individual lawsuits and create a huge compensation fund for thousands of men who say they were molested as youngsters by scoutmasters or other leaders. At the time, the national organization estimated it might face 5,000 cases; it now faces 82,500.

In July, the Boy Scouts of America proposed an $850-million deal that would bar further lawsuits against it and its local councils. The deal did not cover the more than 40,000 organizations that have charters with the organization to sponsor Scout units, including many churches from major religious denominations that are now questioning their future involvement in Scouting.

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School hallway with lockers
06/18/21

Paul Mones Quoted in Ojai’s elite Thacher School allowed decades of alleged sexual abuse, misconduct

An exclusive boarding school in the Ojai Valley released the findings of a review this week that detailed alleged sexual misconduct and abuse spanning 40 years.

The 91-page document takes from a months-long investigation that gathered numerous reports of sexual misconduct by faculty, staff and students following social media posts that began last summer.

The renowned Thacher School is a co-ed private boarding school founded in 1889 and counts notable politicians, journalists, writers and actors among its alumni. It is in the hills above the main city center of Ojai with 259 students, tuition for whom can run $64,700, though many receive financial aid.

The school’s board of trustees retained the Los Angeles-headquartered law firm Munger, Tolles & Olson last fall to conduct an independent investigation into the alleged sexual misconduct experienced by students and alumni.

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Boy scout handbook
05/17/21

Fee applications in Boy Scouts bankruptcy exceed $100M; judge calls total ‘staggering’

The court overseeing the Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy case has appointed an examiner to review fees that have become a point of contention.

Professional and attorney fee applications filed with the court exceed $100 million, and the total could reach $150 million by August, according to the New York Times.

The total includes fees sought by professionals working on behalf of the Boy Scouts of America and sexual abuse victims but does not include fees that will be paid to victims’ lawyers on a contingency basis.

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Boy Scouts uniform and badges.
05/12/21

Boy Scouts of America sex abuse survivors claim censorship, object to bankruptcy exit plans

More than a year into the Boy Scouts of America’s bankruptcy proceedings, frustration is at a boiling point for sex abuse survivors who say the nonprofit organization is doing little to put forth meaningful reparations for their trauma.

Their anger has extended to the bankruptcy court itself, which is redacting hundreds of letters sent to Judge Laurie Silverstein, preventing the public from understanding the full extent of the abuse they say they suffered as children.

On Monday, the Torts Claimants Committee, the official body chosen to represent abuse survivors in the case, filed an objection to the Scouts’ latest bankruptcy reorganization plan, saying it “minimizes the organization’s history of failing to protect children from sexual predators.”

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boy scouts
05/12/21

‘Staggering’ Legal Fees in Boy Scouts Bankruptcy Case

Read Paul’s comments on the Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy in this New York Times article.

One lawyer negotiating a resolution to the multi-billion-dollar bankruptcy filed by the Boy Scouts of America billed $267,435 in a single month. Another charged $1,725 for each hour of work. New lawyers fresh out of law school have been billing at an hourly rate of more than $600.

The high-stakes bankruptcy case has drawn in lawyers by the dozens, negotiating how to compensate tens of thousands of people who have filed claims of sexual abuse. Lawyers and other professionals — both those representing the Boy Scouts and some who are representing victims — have submitted fee applications with the court that have now surpassed $100 million. By August, they could reach $150 million.

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boy scouts
04/19/21

The Hartford agrees to pay $650M in Boy Scouts bankruptcy

DOVER, Del. — Insurance company The Hartford has agreed to pay $650 million into a proposed trust fund for victims of child sexual abuse as part of the Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy case.

In exchange for the payment, the Boy Scouts and its local councils would release The Hartford from any obligation under policies it issued to the BSA and the councils dating back to 1971.

The settlement agreement and release was submitted to the court on Friday by a panel of mediators that is working with the BSA, abuse victims and other parties in the bankruptcy to try to fashion a global resolution of more than 80,000 sexual abuse claims.

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catholic church
04/15/21

Former priest charged with sexually abusing children in Palmdale and Redondo Beach

A former Catholic priest has been charged with sexually assaulting four children in Los Angeles County while serving at churches in Palmdale and Redondo Beach in the late 1990s and early 2000s, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Christopher John Cunningham, 58, was charged with 12 counts of committing lewd acts upon a minor, according to a news release issued by the L.A. County district attorney’s office.

Prosecutors allege that Cunningham sexually assaulted an 11-year-old boy on two occasions between 1995 and 1997 while serving as a priest at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Palmdale. Cunningham also molested another boy at the child’s home between 1996 and 1998, according to the district attorney’s office.

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silhouettes of boy scout leader and boy scouts.
03/08/21

Boy Scouts offer abuse victims $6,000 under bankruptcy plan

Boy Scouts of America is proposing to pay roughly $220 million toward a trust to compensate tens of thousands of former members who say they were abused during their time as scouts.

That amounts to about $6,000 per victim, a sum deemed “woefully inadequate” by a committee that represents survivors. Lawyers for the former scouts were plainly hoping for much more.

“It clearly should be in the range of six-figures to seven-figures,” said Paul Mones, a Portland lawyer who pioneered the sex abuse cases against the scouts. From the time I first got involved in these cases in 2004, it was clear to me that there was a level of arrogance that was incredible and it just wouldn’t go away no matter how many times they lost in court,” Mones added. “That is reflected in this bankruptcy plan.”

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Boy Scouts uniform and badges.
03/04/21

Boy Scouts propose more than $300 million, Norman Rockwell paintings to settle sex abuse claims

The Boy Scouts of America, struggling to stay afloat while compensating tens of thousands of survivors of past sexual abuse, has pledged to provide a victims’ trust fund with at least $300 million from its local councils and proceeds from insurance policies and the sale of a collection of Norman Rockwell oil paintings.

The offer was detailed in a reorganization plan submitted by the Scouts, which filed for bankruptcy protection last year amid a wave of new sex abuse lawsuits after several states, including California, New York and New Jersey, expanded legal options for childhood victims to sue.

The 379-page plan, filed late Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, did not place a total on how much the 111-year-old youth organization is willing to pay to settle more than 85,000 sex abuse claims by former Scouts.

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Compass
03/03/21

Boy Scouts settlement offer slammed by survivors

Five years ago this month, Robb Lawson shared a secret he’d held for more than 30 years, a decision made in part to force accountability on those responsible for his anguish. A former Scoutmaster sexually abused him, he said. The Boy Scouts of America, facing nearly 90,000 such claims from former Boy Scouts across the country, has released a reorganization plan with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware that includes a settlement offer averaging around $6,000 per plaintiff.

“It’s insulting,” said Lawson, who serves on the survivors’ Torts Claimant Committee, a nine-person committee appointed by the Department of Justice to represent the victims’ interest in the Boy Scouts’ Chapter 11 case. He has been immersed in negotiations with the BSA for the past year and said the TCC will oppose their plan in court.

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