Churches urged to file legal document in Boy Scouts lawsuit

October 29, 2020

A Nov. 16 deadline is approaching for churches to file paperwork intended to shield them from any potential liability stemming from a class action lawsuit against Boy Scouts of America over past sexual abuse claims and the organization’s bankruptcy filing. 

The Boy Scouts of America sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February in an effort to put on hold scores of individual lawsuits and establish a class action settlement for claimants who say they were molested as youth by Scoutmasters or other leaders. 

Over 90% of the claims date back more than 30 years. The Chapter 11 action is intended to allow the Boy Scouts of America to reorganize and restructure its finances while continuing to operate. 

The General Council on Finance and Administration sent notice Oct. 21 to conference chancellors, treasurers and bishops, urging them to organize any local churches that have chartered Scout programs, even if the programs aren’t currently active, to file a “proof of claim” by 5 p.m. U.S. Eastern time on Nov. 16. 

Currently, more than 3,000 United Methodist churches charter more than 9,000 Scouting units serving over 300,000 youth, according to United Methodist Men, which oversees the denomination’s Scouting ministries.