BOY SCOUTS ABUSE CLAIMS & COMPENSATION FOR VICTIMS
Abuse survivors have until 5 p.m. Nov. 16, 2020 to file a claim against the Boy Scouts of America to be eligible for compensation through the organization’s bankruptcy proceedings. If you have experienced abuse as a member of the Boy Scouts, here’s what you need to know:
Should I file a claim?
Anyone who has experienced victimization or abuse within Boy Scouts of America should file a claim before the deadline, regardless of the type of abuse or when it occurred.
Those who are instructed to file a claim include, but are not limited to, survivors who have:
* Filed lawsuits or claims against the Boy Scouts.
* Called the Scouts First Hotline or otherwise reported a claim of abuse.
* Never filed a lawsuit, entered a settlement, or reported their abuse.
* Received settlement agreements but believe they have additional claims against the Boy Scouts.
* Experienced abuse, even if the claim is barred under statutes of limitations.
They must fill out the Sexual Abuse Survivor Proof of Claim form. Those who experienced other types of abuse, including physical abuse, emotional abuse, bullying or hazing, must file a General Proof of Claim.
It is important to remember that abuse is not limited to experiences between a scoutmaster and a Scout. Abuse can be between two Scouts, or committed by assistant scoutmasters, camp employees, camp directors, instructors, or other volunteers. Many adult leaders were not even registered at that time, or formally registered with Boy Scouts.
Is there any harm in filing a claim?
No. Some claims may be denied based on legal merit, but there is no adverse effect of filing.
Will my name be kept private?
Yes, claims will not be made available to the general public. Survivors are instructed not to file a proof of claim with the court but rather under the confidential protocol described above via mail or electronic submission.
Instructions on the forms list the specific committees and counsels within the bankruptcy proceedings that will be permitted to review the information. Otherwise, the information is deemed confidential unless the victim chooses to disclose it.
What is the point of a claims form? What does it look like?
The forms are designed to help the counsel and court determine the legal merit of the claims. They require basic personal information, including contact and employment information. They include a series of questions about when, where, and how the abuse occurred.
Survivors should answer the questions to the best of their abilities.
What if I can’t remember all the details?
Legal advocates suggest proceeding with a claim anyway. Therefore, you should still file a claim and include any details you can recall if you believe you were abused in the Scouts or one of the affiliated programs. An attorney may be able to advise you about what types of information, and any documentation, are most beneficial to include.
How do I access a claims form?
The Sexual Abuse Survivor Proof of Claim will be available electronically at www.OfficialBSAClaims.com. General Proof of Claims forms are available at www.omniagentsolutions.com/bsaclaims. They can be filed online or by mail to:
BSA Claims Processing
c/o Omni Agent Solutions
5955 De Soto Ave., Suite 100
Woodland Hills, CA 91367
Must I have a lawyer represent me to file a claim?
No. Anyone can file a claim without a lawyer. Victims’ attorneys suggest, however, consulting a lawyer if you need or want help understanding the process. People considering an attorney to look for one who will take the case on a contingency fee basis, meaning he or she will not charge fees up-front and be paid only if you receive a settlement.
What if my experience happened a long time ago?
Many legal advocates say the most important thing will be to file a claim even if you don’t think you have a claim because of how long ago it happened. Contacting a victim’s rights lawyer will help you preserve their rights.” Statutes of limitations will come into play when claims are evaluated, but several states have passed “look-back” windows lifting the time restrictions.
How long will the claims process take?
The bankruptcy process could take several months to a few years. It is advantageous for the Boy Scouts to keep the process moving and resolve its debts to reemerge from bankruptcy.
What type of compensation can I expect?
The exact amount will be determined based on the organization’s total assets, the amount of money the nonprofit group owes to other entities and consideration of how payouts will affect the organization’s survival. In bankruptcy, people are typically paid less than what they are owed.
Determining compensation is a complex and often contentious process that is shaping up to be a sticking point in the Scout bankruptcy over whether assets owned by the more than 260 local councils will be included in funds set aside for survivors.
Contact Experienced, Compassionate Tampa Bay Victim’s Rights Lawyers
Since 1976 The Matassini Law Firm has been seeking justice and compensation for the victims of sexual assault, abuse, and other gross misconduct by organizations, schools, and religious institutions. Let our hard-working family-run firm fight for you and your family during your times of struggle.
Visit us www.matassinilaw.com