The estimate came Sunday. The deadline for submitting claims in the proceedings is 5 p.m. ET Monday.
“We are devastated by the number of lives impacted by past abuse in scouting and moved by the bravery of those who have come forward,” a BSA statement said. “We are heartbroken that we cannot undo their pain.”
Sex abuse in the BSA was an “unspoken norm,” according to Andrew Van Arsdale, one of the lead attorneys, who says he has communicated with thousands of alleged survivors over the past 19 months.
“Based on what we are hearing from survivors, sexual abuse was a rite of passage in troops across the country, similar to other tasks where children had to … perform certain duties to earn their coveted merit badges,” he said in a statement.
BSA files for bankruptcy after lawsuits
When it filed for bankruptcy, the BSA said it was “outraged that there have been times when individuals took advantage of our program to abuse innocent children.”
“Their lives won’t be scrutinized, but they lose their right to a jury trial. For a lot of abuse survivors, telling their story in a court of law and forcing the organizations to defend their actions can be cathartic. That won’t happen with a bankruptcy,” he said.
Pfau estimated at the time that the number of claims would surpass those targeting the Catholic church.
“The Catholic bankruptcies are limited in geographic scope. Here there will be claimants from all 50 states and the American territories,” Pfau said. “We can talk about files and numbers, but in reality if you step back and realize the scope of the human carnage, it’s stunning.”
Bankruptcy will benefit victims, BSA says
After reportedly hiring a firm specializing in Chapter 11 bankruptcies, the Boy Scouts initiated several changes — allowing girls to join, naming a new president and partnering with a organization for male survivors of sex abuse — before making the bankruptcy filing official earlier this year.
“The BSA cannot undo what happened to you, but we are committed to supporting you and to doing everything in our power to prevent it from happening to others,” Turley wrote.
The bankruptcy filing, which came just days after the group’s 110th anniversary, listed BSA assets of between $1 billion and $10 billion. Its liabilities were estimated at between $100 million and $500 million.
Claims have apparently arrived rapidly in recent months. In May, attorney Tim Kosnoff — who seeks to have the BSA liquidated and their assets sold off — told CNN that 2,000 men had come forward in the previous 11 months. It is not clear when the claims spiked into the tens of thousands.
The recent statement from the Boy Scouts said, “We intentionally developed an open, accessible process to reach survivors and help them take an essential step toward receiving compensation. The response we have seen from survivors has been gut wrenching. We are deeply sorry.”
After Monday’s deadline passes, the next step is for third-party advisers to review the claims, while BSA “works to develop a plan of reorganization to fund the proposed trust,” the organization said.
“We are committed to working as expeditiously as possible to provide survivors of abuse with equitable compensation,” the BSA statement said.
CNN’s Elizabeth Joseph, Laura Ly and Amir Vera contributed to this report.