Some Boy Scout leaders in New Orleans area told to stop all activities until further notice

Updated: Feb. 3, 2021 at 4:55 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Some Boy Scout leaders in the New Orleans area have been told they have to stop all activities until further notice. This affects groups whose charters are held by Catholic schools or parishes within the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

Scout leaders we spoke with were surprised to get a letter from the Archdiocese of New Orleans on Tuesday, Feb. 2.

It reads in part, “At this time, all Cub Scout and Boy Scout groups, whose charters are held by Catholic Schools or Parishes within the Archdiocese of New Orleans, should cease all scouting activities until further notice.”

In the letter, the church only offers a brief explanation as to why, writing, ”Boy Scouts of America has updated the language of their Charter Agreement. Our legal team, along with our insurers, are in dialogue with BSA and are awaiting clarification of the new language, and risks to which our groups may be exposed. This is a complex issue.”

The letter comes as the Archdiocese of New Orleans federal bankruptcy case is ongoing. The church filed Chapter 11 in May of last year following numerous clergy sex abuse lawsuits. But, in a statement sent to Fox 8 Wednesday afternoon, the church, said “the decision to temporarily pause scouting activities is totally unrelated to the Archdiocese’s bankruptcy.”

“You could look at it in that they don’t want to expose themselves to any future liability, so, they’re saying hey fellas let’s just put the brakes on everything right now because we’re kind of getting kicked around pretty good in court from our past behavior and maybe they’re having the fear that allowing that to go on would be looked at as not being prudent,” said Fox 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti.

The letter also instructs scouting groups that have not yet signed rechartering documents to not do so until further notice.

Also, in their statement, the Archdiocese of New Orleans said:

“As of January 31, 2021 the charters of the Boy Scout Chapters held at parishes and schools in the Archdiocese of New Orleans expired and shortly the insurance provided to Charter Holders, which is not provided through the archdiocese, will also expire. We recognize and strongly value the importance of Scouting to our youth. Archdiocesan leadership is actively pursuing clarifications on the changes in obligations and expectations of the 2021-2022 Charter Agreement, as well as insurance coverages that may be provided beginning March 1, 2021 to Chartering organizations, while considering alternative actions that will enable scouting to remain a vibrant and active part of the community in our parishes and schools.”

Boy Scouts of America released the following statement Wednesday evening:

We updated the Annual Chartered Agreement to provide greater detail and clarity about the general liability coverage afforded to chartered organizations. The liability protection itself has not changed, and chartered organizations will continue to be covered in the same manner as previous years.

We are committed to ensuring that all of our chartered partners are comfortable with the agreement so they can continue empowering Scouting programs for youth in New Orleans and throughout the country.”

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