Amid the news of the Boy Scouts of America filing for bankruptcy and the uncertainty that raises, the Boy Scouts of America Great Rivers Council says the national attention and legal issues surrounding the organization will not impact local troops.

Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy protection early today amid declining membership and a drumbeat of child sexual abuse allegations that have illuminated the depth of the problem within the organization and Scouts’ failure to get a handle on it.

After months of speculation and mounting civil litigation, the Chapter 11 filing by the scouting organization's national body was unprecedented in both scope and complexity. It was filed in Delaware Bankruptcy Court overnight.

Amid the news of the Boy Scouts of America filing for bankruptcy and the uncertainty that raises, the Boy Scouts of America Great Rivers Council says the national attention and legal issues surrounding the organization will not impact local troops.

The Great Rivers Council offers traditional scouting opportunities to scouts from 11-to-17-years of age through local troops throughout mid-Missouri, including Camden, Miller and Morgan counties.

Drew Wood, a spokesman at the Columbia office for the Great Rivers Council, said the national bankruptcy will not impact the local troops or the 450-acre Camp Hohn at Lake of the Ozarks. Local councils are not included and will continue to operate business as usual.

Camp Hohn is owned by the council. The facility at Lake of the Ozarks is considered to be one of the premier scout camps in the country. The camp is located at the 44-mile marker near Laurie, encompassing 450 acres and a 1.5-mile stretch of shoreline.

Hohn has been open to scouts for over 50 years. The facility hosts the Boy Scout Summer Camp Program, Project C.O.P.E., Climbing, and Sail Master program, thirteen campsites , and a state of the art pool. A dining hall, lodge and other amenities are also located on the grounds of the camp.

The camp also features the world class Sinquefield Invention Lab and program hall, a technologically advanced 6,000-square-foot facility overlooking the Lake of the Ozarks that provide scouts from across the state the opportunity to work with technology and learn about investing and entrepreneurship.

The center was made possible through a donation from Scoutmaster Dr. Jeanne Sinquefield, and Rex Sinquefield, well-known philanthropists.

The exact effects on Boy Scouts' future operations are unknown, leading to speculation about the organization's odds for survival, the impact on local troops and how bankruptcy could change the dynamic for abuse survivors who have yet to come forward. Some fear that at a minimum it will prevent survivors from naming their abuser in open court.

“They’re going into bankruptcy not because they don’t have the money,” said Tim Kosnoff, who has tried thousands of child abuse cases, including many against the Boy Scouts and Catholic Church. “They’re going into bankruptcy to hide ... a Mount Everest in dirty secrets.”

In court filings, the Boy Scouts said it faces 275 abuse lawsuits in state and federal courts around the country, plus another 1,400 potential claims.

In a statement, the organization said: "The BSA cares deeply about all victims of abuse and sincerely apologizes to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting."

"The BSA intends to use the Chapter 11 process to create a Victims Compensation Trust that would provide equitable compensation to victims."

The group said it paid $150 million in settlements and legal costs from 2017 to 2019.

The organization said scouting programs will continue "throughout this process and for many years to come. Local Councils are not filing for bankruptcy as they are legally separate and distinct organizations."

It is exactly that distinction that victims' attorneys say will form the core of the legal battle ahead over which assets Boy Scouts must use to pay legal settlements and which can be shielded. The primary debate, they say, will center on property owned by the 266 regional councils and local troops.

Reports of a potential bankruptcy first emerged at the end of 2018, with rumors that the nonprofit youth organization would follow in the footsteps of the Catholic Church, which has faced similar claims of abuse. But unlike the Catholic bankruptcy cases, in which more than 20 individual dioceses have filed for protection, the Boy Scouts’ case will play out on a national level. Many saw the Scouts’ increase in annual membership fees in October, from $33 to $60, as evidence of financial trouble. Then on Jan. 1, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – which for 100 years was among Boy Scouts’ largest partners – followed through on its plan to pull hundreds of thousands of Mormon youth out of Scouts in favor of its own youth program. That withdrawal caused an 18% drop in membership overnight, to fewer than 2 million.

But the nonprofit organization's chief financial concern, according to victims’ attorneys and bankruptcy experts, is rising liability from abuse lawsuits. The suits have led to battles with insurance carriers, who refused to pay out claims saying the Scouts failed to take effective preventive measures to stop the abuse. In 2018, Boy Scouts sued six of its carriers.

“The problem with Boy Scouts is they're caught in a vice grip of, on one hand, having insurance companies not paying on these claims that Boy Scouts have already settled, and second having dwindling economic resources on account of paying out money for sexual abuse settlements,” said attorney Paul Mones, who has tried dozens of high-profile cases against Boy Scouts.

The scouting organization has been deeply mired in civil litigation since a landmark case in 2010 that resulted in $19.9 million in damages, the largest ever for a single individual against the Boy Scouts. That case triggered the release of more than 20,000 confidential documents, which became known as the “perversion files.”

Those records named more than 1,000 banned volunteers, revealing that the 100-year-old organization had kept track of suspected and known abusers and failed to consistently report them to police or inform parents or the public of the extent of the problem.