Boy Scouts reach $1 bln in sex abuse settlements with The Hartford, Mormon Church

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The Boy Scouts of America on Tuesday secured more than $1 billion in new settlements to resolve sex abuse claims, with $787 million coming from insurance group The Hartford and another $250 million from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, one of its chartered organizations.

The agreements, announced by Hartford Financial Services Group Inc and the Coalition of Abused Scouts for Justice, will be subject to approval by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Laurie Selber Silverstein, who oversees the Boy Scouts’ bankruptcy.

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In exchange for The Hartford’s payment, the Boy Scouts and its local councils will fully release the company from any obligation under policies that were mostly issued in the 1970s, the insurer said. The Hartford expects to take a $137 million pretax charge in the third quarter for the higher payout.

Tuesday’s agreement replaces the Boy Scouts’ prior deal with The Hartford, under which the insurer said it would contribute $650 million to a proposed trust fund for victims of child sexual abuse as part of the Boy Scouts’ bankruptcy case.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is one of many organizations that fund scouting activities and troops and that have also faced sex abuse claims.

Founded in 1910, the Boy Scouts filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February 2020 after being hit with a flood of sexual abuse lawsuits. The Boy Scouts face 82,500 claims of sexual abuse in the bankruptcy.

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Last month, Silverstein approved the Boy Scouts’ $850 million settlement with representatives of around 70,000 abuse claimants. That deal is backed by 250 local councils.

With the two new settlements, the total amount of money available to sex abuse claimants in the Boy Scouts bankruptcy is now $1.887 billion. Negotiations with other insurers and chartered organizations are ongoing.

The Boy Scouts have said they are committed to fulfilling their “social and moral responsibility to equitably compensate survivors.” (Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru and Maria Chutchian in New York Editing by Anil D’Silva and Matthew Lewis)