Boy Scouts of America considers filing for bankruptcy, report says

The Boy Scouts weighing bankruptcy amid sexual harassment lawsuits

(RNN) - The Boy Scouts of America, one of the nation’s largest youth organizations, is considering filing for bankruptcy, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

The organization has hired law firm Sidley Austin LLP to assist with the possible chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, the journal reported Wednesday.

“We are working with experts to explore all options available to ensure that the local and national programming of the Boy Scouts of America continues uninterrupted,” said Michael Surbaugh, chief scout executive, in a statement to CNN.

"We have an important duty, and an incredible opportunity, to focus as an organization on keeping children safe, supported and protected, and preparing youth for their futures through our nation's foremost program of character development and values-based leadership training."

The report comes amid the organization facing shrinking membership and legal costs from sexual abuse lawsuits. Boy Scout participation is down, from 4 million scouts in the early 2000s to 2.3 million in 2013, according to PBS.org.

In 2017, the organization announced that it would welcome girls and transgender scouts into the ranks.

Earlier this year, Surbaugh announced a name change from Boy Scouts to Scouts BSA.

Surbaugh’s statement Wednesday also referred to abuse victims.

"We believe (victims), we believe in fairly compensating them and we have paid for unlimited counseling, by a provider of their choice, regardless of the amount of time that has passed since an instance of abuse," the statement said.

The Boys Scouts is one of the largest charities in the country, with an estimated private donation of $296 million in 2016, according to Forbes.

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