Boys Scouts of America Proof of Claim
To: East Ohio Conference Local Churches
From: Vera Rebrovich, CPA
Director, Financial & Administrative Services
For Immediate Release: October 26, 2020
URGENT AND IMPORTANT: IF YOUR CHURCH HAS EVER CHARTERED OR OTHERWISE SPONSORED A BOY SCOUT TROOP, CUB SCOUT PACK, OR VENTURING CREW, YOU NEED TO IMMEDIATELY READ THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION, WHICH INCLUDES A FILING DEADLINE OF NOVEMBER 16, 2020.
Earlier this year, the Boy Scouts of America (“BSA”) filed for bankruptcy to protect itself against a growing number of sexual abuse claims made against it. This bankruptcy process is intended to allow the BSA to deal with these claims – through the creation of and payment from a victims’ compensation trust fund – and still continue its operations. As is typical in bankruptcy proceedings, the court has established a “Bar Date,” which is the deadline for potential creditors to file claims against the BSA (the debtor). The Bar Date in this case is November 16, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Instructions on how and where to file a proof of claim are set forth below.
This deadline does not only apply to claims of potential victims, but also to any other individual or entity that may have a claim against the BSA, including chartered organizations that have, or potentially could have, claims for indemnification, contribution, or insurance coverage against the BSA. This is a critical piece of information for our denomination, as United Methodist local churches make up the largest collection of chartered organizations in the country. And given that the BSA has provided some level of insurance coverage to chartered organizations for approximately 35 years, the rights/interests of a United Methodist local church that is currently, or was previously, a chartered organization may be impacted by this bankruptcy process, even if it has not yet been threatened with a lawsuit related to its current or former Boy Scout troop.
If your church knows of a specific claim that may be, or already has been, filed against relating to an allegation of sexual abuse associated with the Boy Scouts, we strongly recommend that your church consult with a licensed attorney, if it has not already done so. Otherwise, if your church has ever chartered or otherwise sponsored a Boy Scout troop, Cub Scout Pack, Venturing Crew, Sea Scouts ship, STEM Scouts lab, or an Exploring post in the past, or if it does so now, it should file a “Proof of Claim” with the court by the November 16, 2020 Bar Date to ensure its rights to applicable insurance, indemnification, or contribution are preserved.
Again, even if you do not know today of any potential claim against your church, your church should still file a Proof of Claim. If your church does not file a Proof of Claim so that it is received by the Bar Date, and a claim is later filed against your church relating to sexual abuse that occurred before February 18, 2020, the BSA and its insurance companies are likely to refuse to participate in the resolution of the sexual abuse claim. This would leave the local church as the primary and likely sole defendant in the sexual abuse lawsuit.
Filing a Proof of Claim does not guarantee payment should a claim exist, or a future claim arise. However, failure to file a Proof of Claim now will bar any recourse against BSA should a claim exist, or a future claim arise relating to sexual abuse that occurred before February 18, 2020.IMPORTANTLY, the annual conference cannot file Proofs of Claim on behalf of local churches. Instead, your local church must file its own Proof of Claim with the Bankruptcy Court.
The East Ohio Conference Office:
located in North Canton, OH,
near Akron-Canton Airport.
8800 Cleveland Ave. NW
North Canton, OH 44720
Local: (330) 499-3972
Toll Free: (800) 831-3972
Fax: (330) 966-7581
Monday through Friday
8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
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