Boy Scouts of America Will Sell Norman Rockwell Paintings to Pay Sex Abuse Claims

The Boy Scouts of America will sell its Norman Rockwell collection.
The Boy Scouts of America said in a court filing that it would establish a settlement fund of at least $300 million.Boy Scouts of America

The Boy Scouts of America will sell its collection of Norman Rockwell to help pay more than 82,000 sexual abuse claims, the organization said in court filings.

For more than 60 years, the Boy Scouts of America commissioned the country's best-known painter of homespun murals to create works of arts depicting all that is good about the scouting life.

But as the organization faces more than 82,000 allegations of sexual abuse, the Boy Scouts will sell its collection of Norman Rockwell paintings to create a settlement fund of at least $300 million for the victims.

In a Delaware bankruptcy court filing this week, the BSA listed nearly 60 pieces of art by Rockwell in a reorganization plan designed to keep the organization afloat while negotiating payments to sexual abuse claims filed by thousands of boys.

The paintings include “I Will Do My Best" and “On My Honor," and represent work commissioned by the group from 1916 to 1976. Rockwell died in 1978.

"The plan demonstrates that considerable progress has been made as we continue to work with all parties toward achieving our strategy to provide equitable compensation for victims and address our other financial obligations so that we can continue to serve youth for years to come," the Boy Scouts said in a statement.

"In the coming months, supplements to the plan will include a more detailed breakdown of the process to compensate survivors and more details about how local councils will support this effort," the statement said.

Rockwell was first hired by the Scouts in 1912 to produce a series of pen-and-ink drawings for "The Boy Scouts Hike Book."  At age 19, he was appointed art director of the organization's magazine, "Boys' Life."

Though Rockwell later joined "The Saturday Evening Post" and became of one the most beloved painters in the country for his creations of American life that celebrated traditional values, Rockwell continued to produce works of art for the Boy Scouts.

The 379-page Monday court filing did not list prices for each piece of art and the organization did not specify how much it would ask for the collection.

Last year, the Scouts filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as it struggled to financially survive while facing a deluge of sexual abuse complaints. 

Paul Mones, an attorney representing hundreds of former Scouts, called the plan "woefully and tragically inadequate," according to CBS News.

"The problem is that the Boy Scouts are not willing to dig deep enough for the deep pain they caused," he said.

"They are shifting the responsibility to the insurance companies, creating a situation for the survivors to engage in obviously protracted litigation to obtain the just compensation they deserve," Mones added. "The BSA basically wants to walk away unscathed from this."