Boy Scouts file for bankruptcy protection following hundreds of sex abuse lawsuits

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The Boy Scouts of America filed for federal bankruptcy protection Tuesday after hundreds of lawsuits were filed accusing scoutmasters and other leaders of sex abuse decades ago.

The group says it is hoping to work out a plan where it can create a compensation fund for victims while allowing the 110-year-old organization to continue.

The national chair of the Boy Scouts posted an open letter apologizing to anyone who was harmed, saying, "I am sorry. I am devastated that there were times in the past when we failed the very children we were supposed to protect."

Local Boy Scout leaders say they believe they will not be hurt by the lawsuit because of the separation between the national and local levels.

Kevin P. O’Shea, the CEO of the Greenwich Boy Scout council, told News 12 that he’s reassuring parents that the regional organization is fiscally sound.

Charles Emerson of Stratford, who has been scouting for over 20 years, says the lessons of the past have made activities within the organization safer than ever.

“The boys know the situations they should and should not be in,” says Emerson.

The long-time scout says he expects that local programs will not be curtailed by the national bankruptcy. He also says he’s prepared to talk to his troop about the topic.

“They get that youth protection education in schools, so I think kids are really smart about it now,” he says.

Some local leaders say because their organizations are separate, they are insulated from the reorganization plan. However, some attorneys for the plaintiffs do not share this view.

More information about the bankruptcy filing and the Boy Scouts restructuring plan can be found here.

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