Business as usual for local boy scouts despite bankruptcy filing

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy Tuesday in the wake of child sex abuse allegations and lawsuits involving nearly 800 plaintiffs across the nation. 

Despite the national organization filing for bankruptcy, the Boy Scouts of America Seneca Waterways Council says that local scouting won’t be impacted. 

“There will be actually no changes in operations. For kids in programs, summer camp activities, weekly meetings. Everything goes on as planned. There will be no change, and from a kids perspective, they will never know that this ever even happened,” said Stephen T. Hoitt, the Scout Executive and CEO for the Seneca Waterways Council.

That said, the bankruptcy filing has some reporting that the national organization might look to liquidate some assets. 

While local councils and the National Boy Scouts of America Organization are legally separate entities, lawyers on a team representing those abused in scouting told USA Today that they plan on arguing that National Boy Scouts of America has control over local council assets. 

In the Greater Rochester Region, the Seneca Water Council has control over 3 year round camps: the J. Warren Cutler Scout Reservation; Camp Babcock-Hovey; and Massawepie Scout Camps. Together these properties total thousands of acres of land, and are worth several thousand dollars. 

Even if the  question of whether or not these properties are controlled by the national organization comes up in litigation, Hoitt says that these properties have specific state regulated donor restrictions.

He says that regardless, these donor restrictions limit use for the properties. 

“If a donor gives you a gift for a specific purpose, you have to use that for that purpose and follow those guidelines. And so those rules will still prevail and provide a check a little bit in the ability of the board to do somethings and not do others,” said Hoitt.

He says that means it’s business as usual for scouts here in the region. 

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