The Boy Scouts of America may be filing for bankruptcy as they face declining membership and escalating legal costs due to sex-abuse-related-litigations and settlements.
According to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal, the Boy Scouts of America has formally retained legal counsel to advise on the Chapter 11 bankruptcy option.
Since it was incorporated in 1910, over 110 million people have participated in the Scouting program. But, in 2019, the Boy Scouts continue to face a large number of lawsuits that allege inappropriate sexual conduct by employees and volunteers dating back to the 1960s.
According to the Wall Street Journal report, the Boy Scouts’ legal bills have almost quadrupled from 2015-2017 as a result of sex-abuse-related-litigation and settlements. In addition, during that same time period, the Boy Scouts’ membership rate has rapidly declined in recent years, particularly after the LDS Church and other large sponsorship organizations announced they were pulling out of the Scouting program.
What does this mean for Pennsylvania victims of Boy Scouts Abuse?
If the Boy Scouts do file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, all pending litigation would stay and allow the youth organization to continue operating while negotiating settlements with victims of abuse through the bankruptcy process.
More importantly, if a bankruptcy is filed, abuse survivors may have a very short time-frame to file a claim with the bankruptcy court. The deadline could be as short as 4-6 months, and any claim filed after the deadline would likely be rejected.
We’ve researched the Ineligible Volunteer files that the Boy Scouts have had on file for decades and found that many perpetrators were allowed back to the volunteer program. If you’ve been a victim of the individuals listed below or any Scout or Volunteer, it’s crucial that you come forth before the Boy Scouts file for bankruptcy.
Here’s a list of Pennsylvania’s most notable individuals in their alleged abuse of children.
(Click on their names to get more details.) (Click here to View a full list of the Ineligible Volunteers list)
According to the IV Files, Edward Bath registered in September 1990 as a Cub Scout Leader for Pack No. 408 in Glen Lyon, Pennsylvania. Bath but was added to the IV Files the very next year following his conviction on charges related to the sexual assault of a minor girl. B.S.A. maintains that Bath was never involved with scouts and did not serve in any capacity of leadership.
According to the IV Files, Richard Carr molested at least seven scouts between 1966 and 1970 while serving as Scoutmaster of Troop 488 in Oreland, Pennsylvania. Carr would often perpetrate the abuse on camping trips, where he would approach enter the tents of sleeping scouts, hold the boys down, molest them and force them to receive oral sex. When initially confronted, Carr insisted the molestation was the result of sleepwalking and that he was getting psychiatric help. He was allowed to remain Scoutmaster until 1970 when B.S.A. finally added him to its IV Files.
Gerald Fonzo was actively involved in Scouting for over 20 years in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area. In 1991, B.S.A. received a report that Fonzo had molested a boy in the 1970s. At the time, Fonzo was an executive board member for the local B.S.A. Council and was also a member of a Catholic religious order associated with St. Rocco’s Roman Catholic Church. In October 1991, Mr. Fonzo was permanently removed from Scouting.
Gregory “Trek” Tracy was a Scouter from 1976 until 1985 in York, Pennsylvania. The IV Files reveal that in 1984 staff at Camp Tuckahoe voiced concerns over Tracy’s “suspicious” dealings with Scouts. The following year, the camp director forwarded two reports to B.S.A. detailing how Tracy abused his leadership position at Camp Tuckahoe to lure Scouts to his home, show them pornographic films and serve them beer in an effort to have sex with them. Tracy reportedly exposed himself, masturbated, and tried to persuade Scouts to fellate him on numerous occasions. Tracy resigned from scouting in May 1985, and B.S.A. added him to its IV files in September 1985. However, it does not appear B.S.A. officially barred Tracy from the Scouts until June 1986.
In 1989, B.S.A. received multiple reports of misconduct by Brian Drummond, Scoutmaster of Troop 28 located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Â The misconduct included showing scouts pornographic films, sharing sleeping bags with them, and various instances of inappropriate touching. Â Drummond was removed from Scouting but it is unclear if B.S.A. ever reported him to law enforcement.
In 1991, allegations surfaced that Scoutmaster Jess Stonier had sexually abused young scouts in the 1980s. Stonier had served as Scoutmaster of Troop 178 in Kulpsville, Pennsylvania since 1981. He was subsequently banned from scouting.
In 1991, B.S.A. received reports that Scoutmaster Robert Fertal has sexually molested on of the boys in his Troop. The incident was referred to the authorities but no legal action was apparently taken.
Fertal was suspended from scouting and subsequently added to B.S.A.’s IV Files later that year.
In 1991, Scoutmaster Albert Otte was convicted of child molestation charges after being found guilty of molesting a 13-year-old girl. The abuse occurred in 1989 and 1990. Otte had served as a Cub Scout Pack Leader since 1987 but was banned from scouting following the conviction.
In October 1991, a man reported that he was molested in the late 1970s by Scoutmaster William Niedringhaus. The abuse allegedly occurred over a period of 4-5 years. Mr. Niedringhaus was subsequently banned from scouting.
Paul Longway is a serial sex offender who repeatedly gained access to scouts by using slight variations in his name and relocating to new councils. The first report of sexual abuse occurred in 1970 while Longway was serving as Scoutmaster of Troop 90 in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. Just two months later, Longway was subsequently suspended but was able to re-register as Scoutmaster of Troop 135 in Parkesburg, Pennsylvania under the name “David Paul Longwy.” Longway was again suspended and went on to repeat the process in 1973 by using the name “Brian Paul Longway” in Marinette, Wisconsin. He was again found to have molested multiple scouts, and was therefore suspended. Remarkably, as a result of the repeated acts of child sexual abuse, Mr. Longway was placed in the Boy Scouts Ineligible Volunteer file three times (1970, 1971, and 1973). It is believed Longway sexually abused more than 50 boys around the country, including boys in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Maryland, and New Jersey.
Robert Henrikson was accused of molesting two young girls in 1990 and was subsequently removed from Scouting. Henrikson had served as Den Leader of Cub Scout Pack 350 in Castle Shannon, Pennsylvania since at least 1989.
If you or someone you love have experienced abuse by a Scout or volunteer, you may be eligible to be compensated. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation to learn about your legal options.