Judge sets July hearing on Boy Scouts settlement agreement

DOVER, Del. — A bankruptcy judge has set a July 29 hearing on the proposed $850 million settlement agreement the Boy Scouts of America have with attorneys representing some 60,000 victims of child sex abuse, giving insurance companies and others who oppose it more time to weigh in.

The agreement was reached last week by attorneys for the Boy Scouts, abuse victims, local Boy Scouts councils and lawyers appointed to represent victims who might file future claims.

The Boy Scouts had wanted the hearing to take place on July 20 in front of Judge Laurie Selber Silverstein, but at a Wednesday status hearing she pushed the settlement hearing back to later in the month. Attorneys who represent insurance companies, thousands of other abuse victims and local scout sponsoring organizations such as churches said they needed more time to gather information about the agreement and file objections.

The Boy Scouts of America sought bankruptcy protection in February 2020, moving to halt hundreds of lawsuits by men who were molested as youngsters decades ago by scoutmasters or other leaders. The filing was intended to try to reach a global resolution of abuse claims and create a compensation fund for victims.

But attorneys for the Irving, Texas-based organization have been unable to reach agreement with all the parties involved in the case to allow the 111-year-old organization to continue operating.

Attorneys for certain insurance companies that have policies covering the Boy Scouts have accused them of allowing attorneys for abuse victims to rewrite the latest Boy Scouts settlement plan to favor their clients. Attorneys for local sponsoring organizations also say the settlement agreement unfairly strips them of their rights to coverage under insurance polices issued to the Boy Scouts and its local councils.

Attorneys for abuse victims have estimated the insurers’ liability exposure at several billion dollars.

Silverstein also postponed a hearing on whether to approve a disclosure statement that outlines the Boy Scouts’ latest reorganization plan. Approval of the disclosure statement is a necessary step before the reorganization plan can be put to a vote by victims and other creditors.

The hearing on the disclosure statement is now set for mid-August.