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Chartering Org requesting a letter from Troop about current/past sexual abuse claims

We have very little interaction with our Chartering Organization. That’s not to say they are been not good us, but they have always been very hands off. Recently when clarifying our ability to start meeting in-person I got the following request:

“Charter organizations have until Nov. 16th to file a general proof of claim just in case someone down the road comes back and says some sort of abuse happened 10 years ago or something like that. This would allow us as the charter organization to still be able to file a claim.

I would like at least a statement from your leadership saying that to your knowledge you do not know of any current or past abuse claims brought to our attention. It would just need to be a letter. And I would need it as soon as possible.”

Has anyone else had such a request?

How have you worded such a letter? Most of our current leadership only has 4-6 years of experience with the troop.

If i’m right I would think that the COR would be the one forming this letter as the liaison between the troop and the Charter org. and if there were claims wouldn’t he/she be the one informed as well as the council exec once it has come to light if something happened?

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Weird request from a chartering organziation, which should be cognizant of any legal issues involving the Troop.

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I’d probably ask to talk to whomever was promulgating the request to ask for more background. It sounds to me like the chartering org (or it’s attorney) is looking to be able to claim (down the road) that if anyone knew of or suspected anything, then that “anything” was never reported to the chartering org. It might be related to obtaining insurance (“This would allow us as the charter organization to still be able to file a claim.” with claim meaning insurance claim), or it could be related to filing a future claim against one or more leaders for concealing something. That said, I’m an engineer, not an attorney, thus my suggestion to dig deeper.

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key words “should be”. If I were in that situation, which I hope no one will ever have to be, I would think the COR/Chartered org would be one of the first to know of the situation after it has been brought to the proper authorities first and if legally allowed to divulge depending on what your local/state laws are on who you can tell outside of the authorities.

I’d tell them “here are the BSA’s youth protection requirements. We comply with them, and we comply with the Chartered Organization’s youth protection requirements.”

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@DanielShapiro You might want to consider consulting with an attorney about your letter (what to include, what not to include).

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Hey, at least your CO is talking to you! Invite them to pick up the letter at your next campout. :innocent:
I’ve heard of several organizations getting in the line of bancruptcy creditors. I don’t know a letter like this is intended to help or hinder the process.

I just reached out to our Charter Organization, a church. We have been approved by the Board of Trustees (it is an annual thing, no big deal). When I gave them a heads up today that re-chartering is coming up and we’d need signatures from them, they told me that the District Superintendent for the Church (we are in Southern California) said to hold off on signing anything until after November 10 when the claims window closes. Has anyone else got this “pause” yet?

yes all Methodist churches are doing that

As a CO, I will add that if the National BSA had not filed for Bankruptcy to protect itself, then CO’s would not have to file the Proof of Claim (POC) that would be needed if an abuse victim that occurred in scouting ever comes forward to sue the CO. The bankruptcy paperwork will protect the BSA, but not the CO’s. Apparently, as part of the bankruptcy proceeding, CO’s have to file before 11/16 or the POC will not be accepted.

This just adds in one more reason why the BSA is the wrong defendant in these lawsuits. The POC is needed because the Charter Organizations in agreeing to run the programs, took on the responsibilities to select, screen, and monitor all the adult volunteers. You have the individual the committed the crime, the parents, and unit committee that put the person in a leadership position and didn’t monitor them and you have the CO that signed a document stating they would screen the adult volunteers. The last and least invoiced organization is the BSA, unfortunately, they are also the richest and easiest target.

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Nope. The BSA owns this mess and now it’s trying to extricate itself at the expense of COs. There will not be a CO left that will want to charter a BSA unit. Every CO should file a proof of claim to protect itself.

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We will just have to disagree on if the BSA is the correct defendant. But it is clear that the lawyers have successfully laid it at BSA door.

I know people have this opinion but I am mystified by it. Everyone in the program was/is a member of the BSA. BSA is nonprofit corporate structure. If you are McDonalds and franchises follow your instructions and burn people with hot coffee, you are liable. If you are McDonalds and franchises aren’t following your instructions you have the responsibility to terminate the agreement.

For a franchisor to be held liable for the actions of the franchisee, the franchisor must have a significant amount of control over the day-to-day operations of the franchisee. This varies by state and is very complex. It gets even more confusing when the franchisor has both corporate-owned stores and franchises.

In the case of BSA, the parents, the unit committee, and the CO have complete control of the day to day operations of the unit. The parents, the unit committee, and the CO are the ones that select the leaders and are the ones responsible for controlling the actions of those leaders. Even if BSA were to not recognize a person as a leader, it is still up to the troop to remove that person and prevent them from acting as a leader or participating in activities.

Trying to debate/litigate the relative liability and responsibility of the overall organization, chartering organization, and unit leadership/parents is not going to be a productive activity in these forums. In no small part, that’s what the various legal actions against BSA and various chartering organizations and individuals are doing.

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You’re not acknowledging the conflict of interest. BSA through the Councils and Districts does exert control in terms of setting goals through JTE and performance based criteria for paid staff based on increasing membership and unit numbers. There is an inherent disincentive for removing dysfunctional COs and units.

Agreed. But in terms of trying to calibrate the CO and BSA relationship going forward, it is very relevant. Scouting doesn’t exist without COs. Anything that damages that relationship is bad for scouting. Scouting belongs to the BSA, no one else. COs exist just fine with or without us. Trying to blame COs for BSA"s management failures is only going to result in few organizations wanting to be COs. That’s a pretty logical progression. You can’t hope for BSA’s long term survival without realizing we need to re-engineer the CO model.

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There’s no real use to a bunch of amateurs arguing about corporate liability and how it specifically applies to one particular case.

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