Boy Scouts OK Sale of Property | Information, Sports activities, Jobs

The area’s Boy Scouts council that features Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties has voted to promote considered one of its two tenting properties.

The sale of the Elk Lick Scout Reserve in Smethport, Pa. — accepted unanimously final week by the Allegheny Highlands Council — would fulfill its roughly $900,000 required contribution to the Boy Scouts of America and abuse settlement amid an onslaught of kid intercourse abuse allegations. Proceeds would go on to a belief established for the victims of abuse.

“We’re not voting tonight on gifting away a chunk of historical past, we’re voting on whether or not we need to preserve Scouting alive within the Allegheny Highlands Council,” Michael Kelley, AHC board president, instructed members in a publication despatched Friday. “If issues keep on the right track, the lawsuit could also be coming to an finish within the subsequent 90 days — it isn’t but a achieved deal, however when it’s, we are going to should be ready to place our a part of the settlement into motion. A key part of the plan is 100% participation by the 252 native Councils; if any considered one of these Councils decides to not take part, the deal is lifeless, and so is scouting.”

The Allegheny Highlands Council has been requested to contribute to the settlement; the contribution from every council was decided by the Native Council Committee in session with the Torts Claimant Committee.

The publication states that the system used to find out every council’s contribution included council belongings, variety of claims filed inside every council and statute of limitations within the state wherein the claimswere filed.

Kelley mentioned the choice to show the Elk Lick Scout Reserve over to fulfill the settlement was reached after “months of conferences of an Advert Hoc Committee that included AHC board members {and professional} workers, in addition to different scouters from inside the Council. Various board members indicated that whereas they supported the choice, it was made with a heavy coronary heart.”

The Allegheny Highlands Council additionally operates Camp Merz in Mayville.

Earlier this 12 months it was revealed in chapter court docket paperwork that just about 70 claims of sexual abuse had been filed in opposition to the Allegheny Highlands Council, which is predicated in Falconer and serves Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties in New York and McKean and Potter counties in Pennsylvania.

Specifics relating to the claims, together with after they had been made or in opposition to whom, weren’t included within the paperwork made public. Nevertheless, a few of these claims have come to gentle within the final two years by means of Youngster Sufferer’s Act lawsuits filed in state Supreme Court docket in Chautauqua County.


Greater than a 12 months and a half after the Boy Scouts of America sought chapter safety, tens of hundreds of males who say they had been molested as youngsters by scoutmasters and others will quickly get an opportunity to vote on a BSA reorganization plan. The Boy Scouts, primarily based in Irving, Texas, sought chapter safety in February 2020, looking for to halt a whole bunch of particular person lawsuits and create a fund for males who say they had been sexually abused as youngsters.

Though the group was dealing with 275 lawsuits on the time, it’s now dealing with greater than 82,000 sexual abuse claims within the chapter case.

Regardless of the plan being despatched out to abuse claimants for a vote, there are a number of points involving Boy Scouts insurers and native troop sponsoring organizations that stay unresolved.

Here’s a have a look at the place the case stands:


Following a listening to that stretched over two weeks, a choose final week accepted a revised disclosure assertion that outlines and explains the Boy Scouts’ reorganization plan. Approval of the disclosure assertion was required earlier than the Boy Scouts may start sending out ballots to abuse claimants and different collectors to vote on the plan.

Among the many points mentioned on the disclosure assertion listening to had been provisions for guaranteeing that ballots and informational packages are despatched to all claimants, together with males who’re incarcerated, whereas defending the privateness of those that are not looking for Boy Scouts-related communications despatched to their properties.

The choose and attorneys additionally mentioned provisions to make sure that legislation corporations that symbolize a number of abuse claimants and need to submit “grasp ballots” on behalf of their shoppers show they’ve obtained permission from every consumer who doesn’t want to submit a poll himself.


The plan requires the Boys Scouts and its roughly 250 native councils to contribute as much as $820 million in money and property right into a fund for abuse claimants. In addition they would assign sure insurance coverage rights to the fund. In return, the native councils and nationwide group can be launched from additional legal responsibility for sexual abuse claims.

The plan additionally consists of settlement agreements involving one of many Boy Scouts’ main insurers, The Hartford, and its former largest troop sponsor, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, generally referred to as the Mormon church. The Hartford has agreed to pay $787 million into the fund for abuse claimants, and the Mormons have agreed to contribute $250 million for abuse associated to the church’s scouting packages. In trade, each entities can be launched from any additional legal responsibility involving little one intercourse abuse claims.

Attorneys for the Boy Scouts and abuse claimants say they nonetheless hope to achieve settlements with different insurers and sponsoring organizations, nevertheless it’s unclear whether or not they are going to be profitable.


The official committee appointed by the U.S. chapter trustee to symbolize and act in one of the best curiosity of all sexual abuse survivors is recommending that abuse claimants reject the Boy Scouts’ plan. In a draft letter filed with the court docket, the 9 abuse survivors on the committee mentioned the plan is “grossly unfair,” and represents solely a fraction of the settling events’ potential liabilities and what they need to and will pay.

Based on the committee, a key flaw is that settlements with native Boy Scout councils would depart them with greater than $1 billion in money and property above what they should fulfill the scouting mission. The committee additionally notes that sponsoring organizations akin to church buildings and civic teams can keep away from legal responsibility for abuse claims courting to 1976 just by transferring their pursuits in insurance coverage insurance policies bought by the BSA and native councils to the victims fund, with out contributing any money or property.

In the meantime, attorneys individually representing tens of hundreds of abuse claimants have submitted their very own letter urging abuse claimants to vote for the plan. They are saying it should lead to billions of {dollars} in compensation for abuse survivors and represents the very best consequence for them.

The letter was drafted by attorneys representing an advert hoc group referred to as the Coalition of Abused Scouts for Justice and the court-appointed advocate for many who would possibly file claims sooner or later, together with males who’ve repressed reminiscences of their abuse. The coalition represents virtually 18,000 abuse claimants and is affiliated with greater than two dozen legislation corporations that collectively symbolize greater than 60,000 claimants.


With the choose’s approval of the disclosure assertion, ballots and informational packages will likely be despatched to greater than 82,000 abuse claimants over the subsequent two weeks. Ballots have to be returned by Dec. 14, and a preliminary report on the voting outcomes is due per week later. A last voting report is due by Jan. 4.

The choose has scheduled a listening to to start on Jan. 24 to think about the voting outcomes and to resolve whether or not the plan meets the necessities of the chapter code and needs to be accepted.

— The Related Press contributed to this report.

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