L.A. Archdiocese Settles Some Uninsured Cases, Still Fighting With Insurers On “Covered” Claims

This L.A. Times story is another in the long, sad chronicle of the myriad sexual abuse lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. From a coverage standpoint, the clergy sex abuse cases present one of the most intriguing and difficult coverage issues of the last few decades. As the story notes, the Archidiocese has settled some cases that were “uninsured,” likely because the acts occurred after insurers began to expressly exclude sex abuse coverage in liability policies around 1986.
A major force that moved insurers toward adopting the sex abuse exclusion was the scandal over allegedly hundreds of molestations at the McMartin pre-school in Manhattan Beach, California. The scandal, which first made the news in 1983, ironically was based on false charges of abuse. Also ironically, several dissections I have read of the scandal and how the false allegations developed, place much of the blame for the McMartin hysteria on a Catholic parish church in the area, to which most of the McMartin parents belonged. It’s a measure of how quickly American society evolves that 10 years prior to McMartin, no one talked about sexual abuse, much less imagined it was covered by a Commercial General Liability policy.
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/state/la-me-priest7jan07,1,6434250.story?coll=la-news-state

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