Child sexual abuse lawyers have said the proposed settlement is nowhere near enough to support the tens of thousands of claims against the Boy Scouts.
Insurance company The Hartford has agreed to pay the Boy Scouts of America $ 650 million as part of the latter group’s bankruptcy proceedings.
As the Hartford Courant previously reported, the Boy Scouts of America – along with several of their local councilors – filed a lawsuit against the insurance company in 2018. In their complaint, the Boy Scouts alleged The Hartford issued guidelines that should have covered some of the sexual assault claims now pending against the Boy Scouts.
“We have great compassion for childhood sexual abuse victims and the ongoing trauma they endure,” said Hartford spokesman Matthew Sturdevant. “Our agreement with BSA is an encouraging step towards a global solution that will fuel BSA’s efforts to fairly compensate survivors.”
According to The Associated Press, the funds will be placed in a trust for victims of child sexual abuse.
In return for the payment, the Boy Scouts will release The Hartford of any obligations the insurer may have under contracts issued to the BSA since 1971.
“The agreement, which was reached after extensive negotiations, provides that the BSA and its local councils, in return for the payment of The Hartford, will completely release The Hartford from any obligations under any guidelines it has placed on the BSA and its local councils.” said The Hartford in a press release.
Wooden mallet on black, reflective surface; Image via pxhere.com, CCO.
The settlement, according to The Associated Press, was brought to justice on Friday by a team of mediators working to resolve tens of thousands of sexual abuse claims against the Boy Scouts, even as the BSA is on its way to bankruptcy.
“Our agreement with The Hartford is an encouraging step towards reaching a global solution that will fuel the BSA’s efforts to fairly compensate survivors and continue the mission of scouting,” the Scout said in a statement. “We are determined to continue our mediation efforts with all parties and look forward to providing further updates as these discussions progress.”
The deal has a catch, however: Hartford’s gross payout will be reduced if the Boy Scouts or Victims’ Trusts enter into an arrangement with another insurer – Century Indemnity Company – and Century pays less than twice the amount from The Hartford.
The Associated Press notes that lawyers representing victims of abuse were “appalled” by the agreement even without the potential reduction.
“It’s outrageous,” said Paul Mones, attorney who represents hundreds of abuse victims. “Your real liability is in billions of dollars.”
“For the Boy Scouts, this is just normal business. They pay lip service to their alleged understanding and concern for their terrible legacy of sexual abuse, but they do nothing of substance,” he added.
If the settlement is not approved by victims of abuse, the scouts create a self-funded trust. However, this trust only pays claims made against the national scout organization and excludes claims against local councils.
According to The Associated Press, the official tort committee estimates the value of the approximately 84,000 claims against the Boy Scouts at $ 103 billion. Currently, Boy Scouts estimate that once their settlement fund is fully funded, it will be worth between $ 2 billion and $ 7 billion.
The Hartford agrees to donate $ 650 million to Boys Scouts of America in connection with allegations of sexual abuse
Hartford agrees to pay $ 650 million for the Boy Scouts bankruptcy