The Boy Scouts of America is considering filing for bankruptcy as it struggles with dwindling membership and escalating legal costs related to lawsuits over its handling of sexual abuse allegations, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Founded in 1910, BSA has been at the center of sexual-abuse scandals for decades, and the organization is facing a number of lawsuits that allege inappropriate conduct by employees or volunteers in incidents dating as far back as the 1960s. Filing for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 would stop the litigation and give the nonprofit youth development organization a chance to negotiate with those who have sued. Such an approach is similar to those taken by other groups mired in sex-abuse scandals, including more than twenty Catholic dioceses and religious orders and USA Gymnastics.
The Boy Scouts currently has more than 2.3 million youth members, but participation in the organization's programs has fallen in recent years, even as it has opened some of its programs to girls and transgender boys. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, formerly one of the group's largest sponsors, is reportedly looking to develop its own program for young men.
On Wednesday, BSA released a letter to its employees that said it plans to "explore all options available to ensure that the local and national programming of the Boy Scouts of America continues uninterrupted."
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