The Boy Scouts of America has filed for bankruptcy amidst the organization’s struggle to compensate the thousands of victims of sexual abuse who were victimized by leaders in the association.

According to The New York Times, the Boy Scouts have uncovered the names of nearly 8,000 “perpetrators” who have abused 12,254 boys over the past 72 years since the organization started keeping records after World War I. Unfortunately, the trail of abuse may be even more widespread than that as “lawyers have said that former scouts have come forward to identify hundreds of other abusers not included in those files.”

Back in the 1970s, the Boy Scouts of America had around five million participants. That number has since dwindled to around 2.4 million. The organization has sought to increase membership by “ allowing openly gay scouts in 2013, then openly gay leaders in 2015, and then expanding to allow girls to participate starting in 2017.” It’s unclear why the organization thought that opening the Boy Scouts to girls was an effective way to increase participation rates.

In an open letter to the victims of sex-abuse, the national chair of the Boy Scouts of America Jim Turley said, “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.” 

Several attorneys have created an Abused in Scouting victims’ group which works to file and win lawsuits on behalf of victims of the sex abuse via the Boy Scouts. 

Potential compensation to the victims could be substantial, as the bankruptcy filing noted that the Boy Scouts organization has between $1 billion and $10 billion in assets, and only $500 million to $1 billion in liabilities, according to the Associated Press.

Sexual abuse in general is horrific and evil, but when the abuse is directed towards children, it is particularly nefarious.

If you or someone you know would like a free counseling consultation by a licensed or pastoral counselor, please call the Focus on the Family’s counseling number at 1-855-771-HELP or complete a counseling consultation request form by clicking here.

For those who may be looking for a Christian alternative to the Boy Scouts or the Girl Scouts, there’s Trail Life USA (for boys) and the American Heritage Girls (for girls).

Additional Resources:

Overcoming Memories of Past Sexual Abuse

How to Help a Victim of Sexual Abuse 

Symptoms of Children Who Are Victims of Sexual Abuse


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