New York Archdiocese sues to force insurers to cover sexual-abuse claims

The Archdiocese of New York quietly filed a lawsuit last week against dozens of insurance companies, demanding legal protection and coverage for historic childhood sexual abuse claims.

The filing, which targets 32 different companies to which the church reportedly paid insurance premiums in the past, seeks to preempt attempts by those insurers to deny coverage.

The suit seeks a declaration by the court that the insurance companies provide coverage for, and defend the church against, those claims.

The move comes a month before the Child Victims Act goes into effect. The state law will provide a second chance to sue for people who had been unable to pursue civil action for past sexual abuse because the statute of limitations had expired.

“This is an unequivocal sign that the church is getting serious about dealing with its exposure,” said James R. Marsh, an attorney representing 40 plaintiffs against the Catholic institution, in a statement. “With the New York Archdiocese facing significant financial liability after decades of heartbreaking sexual abuse, it appears that it is beginning the process of addressing its financial challenges head-on. That’s just what this filing represents: an institution seeking to ensure that liability is fairly shared with its own insurance companies.”


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