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 victim’s compensation trust fund – and still continue its operations. United Methodist local churches make up the largest collection of chartered organizations in the country. Given that the BSA has provided some level of insurance coverage to chartered organizations for approximately 35 years, the rights/interests of a local United Methodist 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 or United Methodist Men's group 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.
For a letter with more details and information on how to file a "Proof of Claim", click here.
For a sample "Proof of Claim" form, click here.