UMC will contribute to the fund for victims
The Arkansas Conference of The United Methodist Church has agreed to pay $292,144 into a ‘survivor trust fund’ for victimized Boy Scouts, its share of the denomination’s proposed $30 million global settlement .
The payment will be made “immediately after the final legal settlement approved by the court”.
The money will come from undesignated reserve funds. Individual congregations will not have to contribute.
More than 480 people voted during the special session, which took place virtually earlier this month. Support for the legislation was overwhelming, with 97% voting yes.
The same percentage voted to approve a resolution “to support the healing of survivors affected by the Boy Scouts of America”.
A resolution calling for the creation of a working group to examine “policies relating to the safety of children, young people and adults at risk”, was adopted with 95% of the vote.
Bishop Gary Mueller of the Arkansas conference said it was important that the proposals be discussed and adopted by the conference, rather than having them approved by “a few leaders or administrative bodies.”
“We understand the deep pain and suffering. We are deeply concerned about justice being served, and… [will] do whatever we can to provide support and healing,” Mueller said. “We will take steps in the future to do everything possible to ensure that this never happens again, whether in scouting or with any group involving children or young people.
As the Boy Scouts of America files for bankruptcy, tens of thousands of current and former Scouts have filed lawsuits alleging they were sexually abused while Scouting.
A $2.7 billion settlement has been proposed.
Because they were often the founding organization of reconnaissance troops, thousands of American churches also face potential liability.
Last year, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints agreed to contribute $250 million to the fund, according to media reports.
If approved, it would be “the largest sexual abuse settlement in history”, according to a spokesperson for the Coalition of Abused Scouts for Justice.
The organization claims to represent 18,000 of the claimants.
The settlement “includes key protections for current and future Scouts, and provides compensation without further delay and represents the best and fastest route to closure, as well as fair, just and equitable compensation,” it said. she declared.
Of the nearly 82,000 people who filed claims, about 54,000 voted for the settlement, including 73% in favor of the agreement, The New York Times reported earlier this month.
The United Methodist Church announced last month that a settlement agreement had been reached with the support of the Boy Scouts of America and the Coalition.
“We are sorry for what happened and pray for all who have been harmed by Scouting activities. We are committed to protecting children and young people, and the Council of United Methodist Bishops will work with the church, the Survivor Task Force and BSA to address policies, programs and procedures to protect Scouts from abuse,” said Bishop John Schol, who led the ad hoc leadership team advising United Methodist member organizations. regarding bankruptcy.
Under the agreement, the denomination:
• Work to raise money for the Survivor Trust Fund.
• Publish a series of articles on the damage caused by abuse, drawing attention to the problem and urging churches to work to prevent it in the future. Each annual conference would take similar action.
• Give survivors opportunities to discuss their experiences with church leaders.
• Initiate a denomination-wide review to ensure that appropriate safeguards are in place and are being followed.
• Work to make all Scouting and United Methodist programs safe for young people.
• Help founding organizations raise $100 million for the Survivor Trust Fund and participate in a Survivor Task Force.