Boy Scouts of America Could File for Bankruptcy Because of Sexual Abuse Lawsuits

Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts salute during a Memorial Day ceremony in Linden, Michigan, on May 29.
Jake May / AP file

The Boy Scouts of America could be bound for bankruptcy.

Facing mounting legal costs from defending itself against lawsuits alleging sexual abuse of boys, the venerable nonprofit organization is considering filing for Chapter 11 protection, The Wall Street Journal is reporting.

The BSA has reportedly hired the Sidley Austin LLP law firm and released a statement on Wednesday saying that it was “working with experts to explore all options available to ensure that the local and national programming of the Boy Scouts of America continues uninterrupted.”

Chief scout executive Michael Surbaugh also acknowledged in the statement that the BSA was grappling with legal costs from the lawsuits.

“We have a social and moral responsibility to fairly compensate victims who suffered abuse during their time in Scouting, and we also have an obligation to carry out our mission to serve youth, families and local communities through our programs,” Surbaugh said in the statement.

Surbaugh also apologized “to anyone who was harmed during their time” in scouting but also stressed that “at no time in our history have we knowingly allowed a sexual predator to work with youth, and we always seek to act swiftly when alerted to abuse allegations.”

Founded in 1910 and long considered a bastion of traditional values, the BSA reported in its 2016 annual report that it has more than 1.26 million Cub Scouts, nearly 830,000 Boy Scouts, and some 960,000 adult volunteers.

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SOURCE: NBC News, Corky Siemaszko