(NEW YORK) — For more than a century, the Boy Scouts of America was a powerful institution aimed at empowering young people to make “ethical and moral choices.” But repeated lawsuits over sex abuse claims scouts say they suffered in scouting and the court-ordered release of decades of internal Boy Scouts of America records cataloguing abuse allegations led to institutional disgrace and bankruptcy.
The century-long-cover-up by The Boy Scouts of America to conceal pedophiles that were in their ranks and how their secret “perversion files” would eventually lead to the financial downfall and bankruptcy of the organization.
ABC News Studios partners with Imagine Documentaries and Vermilion Films to present “Leave No Trace: A Hidden History of The Boy Scouts.” The film examines financial records, court documents and firsthand survivor accounts to dissect a coverup of sexual abuse within the Boy Scouts of America.
After premiering at the Tribeca Festival on June 9, “Leave No Trace” is set to stream on Hulu and in select theaters on Thursday, June 16.
Stream the full story June 16 on Hulu
The Boy Scouts of America responded to ABC News about the film’s release and said they are “deeply sorry for the pain endured by survivors of abuse,” but the organization challenges aspects of the film.
“While there are aspects of the film “Leave No Trace” that mischaracterize the BSA’s policies and actions, rather than challenge these inaccuracies, our focus is on supporting survivors,” the organization told ABC News. It continued, “The BSA welcomes any opportunity for survivors to share their stories as part of the healing process, and we applaud the bravery and resilience of all survivors of past abuse in Scouting.”
The Boy Scouts of America still remains one of the largest youth organizations in the United States and reported approximately 2.1 million youth members and nearly 800,000 adult volunteers in 2019. At its height, the organization served over 5 million youths in 1979.
In 2012, the Boy Scouts of America was forced by a court order in a sexual abuse lawsuit brought by a former scout in Oregon to release over 20,000 pages of documentation of alleged child sexual abuse cases within the organization from 1965 to 1985.
The film investigates how the organization allegedly helped cover up the abuse cases and failed to report the allegations externally to police or other local officials.
In February 2020, the Boy Scouts of America filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in order to offer “equitable compensation” to victims and their families, according to a press release.
Three months later, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware set a November 2020 deadline for all survivors of sexual abuse to file claims, according to a press release.
More than 82,000 sexual abuse claims were reportedly filed.
Earlier this year, survivors of sex abuse in scouting voted to accept a proposed 2.7 billion dollar settlement from the Boy Scouts of America as part of its reorganization plan. If approved by the bankruptcy court, it would be the largest sex-abuse payout in American history.
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