Bishop’s Briefing on Boy Scouts of America

by | Jan 31, 2022 | United Methodist Men, Bishop Grant's Blog, Bishop's Newsletter Blog, Board of Trustees, Scouting

By Bishop Grant J. Hagiya

More than 9,000 United Methodist churches with a history of sponsoring Scouting troops have a say in the Boy Scouts of America’s sex abuse-related bankruptcy proceedings.

Now that the groundwork of our negotiations with the Boy Scouts of America and the resulting pre-trial agreements are finalized, I want to share with you in full transparency where we are.

Before this, delicate negotiations were confidential, and we were constrained from disclosing all of the details. However, now that the first step is finalized, I want to share where we are going in the trial phase.

The trial court is ready to hear about the proposals for a bankruptcy reorganization plan for the Boy Scouts of America. We need to keep in mind that nothing is final until the courts rule on the conditions and terms of this bankruptcy. All of our United Methodist work so far has represented us as a Chartering Organization. We also have taken up the cause of smaller Chartering Organizations that could not represent themselves. These negotiations were tedious and challenging, and we need to thank the Council of Bishops, our UMC Chancellors, and key general church agency leaders. They represented us and the greater good, including the abuse victims, with honor and integrity.

Our United Methodist perspective was not just our self-interest, but we took up the cause of the victims themselves and the other smaller Chartering Organizations as the main priority. Our number one priority is the healing of the survivors of abuse. We remain committed to this central priority.

We are committing $30 million dollars over three years to the victims. We also have pledged to attempt to raise more soon. We pledge to provide resources ensuring this does not happen again and to safeguard our churches as places of safety for all who come into our doors. If the courts approve the final settlement, we will be released from the liability of all the cases that have come to light as of this date.

Each U.S. annual conference will be assessed, based on the number of cases against it, a portion of the $30 million. For our Desert Southwest Annual Conference, that amounts to $208,096. We also have already contributed $20,000 in legal fees to cover the costs of the protracted negotiations. Because we are committed to helping the victims as soon as possible, we also have agreed to pay this all off in one year and not delay over three years.

I am so proud of the commitment of our annual conference leadership in stepping up and making the sacrifices to do what is just and right in this difficult situation. I also need to thank all of those who put so much time and effort into making this happen: Treasurer Randy Bowman, Chancellor Marilee Miller Clarke, and our Boy Scout Response Team: Jonathan Arnpriester, Randy and Marilee, the Appointive Cabinet: Susan Brims, Dan Morley, Matt Ashley, and Javier Olivares; Christina Dillabough, Julie O’Neal, and the CFA, chaired by Scott Whitmire, and members: Robin Lee, Anabel Quijada, John Brown, Kay Pitt, Cynthia Reid, Ann Williams, Steve Ziegler, and Daniel Landesman.

This is your United Methodist Connection at its very best, and I am so proud to be a part of our Desert Southwest Annual Conference!

Be the Hope,
Bishop Grant

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Author: Bishop Grant Hagiya

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