N.L. church failure to disclose abuse 'voids' insurance
Insurance firms would refuse to give any money to a man alleging abuse by priest
Guardian Insurance and the Insurance Corporation of Newfoundland say the church failed to disclose key information, so they aren't obligated to pay the alleged victim if he is awarded compensation.
"[The church] was specifically aware of the sexual misconduct of the 'priest' and failed to disclose that knowledge to the company when the policy was taken out," The Insurance Company of Newfoundland said in documents filed in court in 2009.
Guardian said "this failure to disclose was…a material misrepresentation which voids the policy."
"Hickey sexually assaulted the plaintiff, which assaults included acts of fondling, oral sex and anal intercourse upon the person of the plaintiff," said the statement of claim.
The document also alleges the church failed to protect the man who claims he was victimized while he went to school in St. John's. None of the allegations has been proven in court.
"The archbishop and the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of St. John's knew or ought to have known of the actions, activities and propensities of James Hickey having been previousl given information as to his sexual misconduct before stationing him at the aforesaid Holy Rosary parish in 1979," according to the statement of claim.
Greg Stack, the lawyer representing the man suing the church, told CBC News that if the companies won't pay any compensation if it’s awarded, he'll go after the church for the money.
"In 2001, the church's business manager indicated that they had between $10 [million] and $12 million sitting in their bank account ... so we don't think the insurance is needed," Stack told CBC News.
His client doesn't specify how much he is seeking in damages in his statement of claim. The court document asks the court to determine what compensation would be appropriate.
He is asking that his court costs and exemplary and punitive damages are paid by the defendants.
- A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the alleged victim is from Trepassey, N.L. The alleged victim is from the St. John's area.Feb 03, 2011 4:45 AM NT