Cases Will Impact More Than Seventy Survivors of Sexual Abuse With Claims Against the Diocese
(St. Paul, MN) – Doe 524, a survivor of sexual abuse by a Catholic clergy member when he was an altar boy at Holy Cross Parish in Onamia, Minnesota in the 1960s and 1970s, has asked a Federal District Court in Minnesota to allow him to join two lawsuits involving the Diocese of St. Cloud and its insurance companies. The two lawsuits were brought by the Diocese and Catholic Mutual Insurance Company last year to determine whether policies issued to the Diocese by other insurance companies cover the more than seventy sexual abuse claims the Diocese is currently facing. Doe 524, who brought a lawsuit against the Diocese in 2016, hopes to join the two cases so he and other survivors will be represented in matters that have the potential to seriously impact them.
“The Insurance Companies have forced the Diocese into bankruptcy”
On Wednesday the Diocese announced it intends to file for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in order to deal with the large number of sex abuse claims brought as a result of the Minnesota Child Victims Act, which allowed survivors of sexual abuse to bring claims between 2013 and 2016. The two insurance lawsuits are expected to play an important role in the Diocese’s bankruptcy. The Diocese said there’s no timeline as to when it will file bankruptcy.
St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson, who represents Doe 524 and 72 other survivors with claims against the Diocese, said the decisions made in the two lawsuits will affect whether survivors are treated fairly in the bankruptcy process. “The Insurance Companies have forced the Diocese into bankruptcy by refusing to cover these claims,” Anderson said, “and so now this courageous survivor needs to join the Diocese’s lawsuits to make those insurance companies abide by their commitments to the Diocese, and to ensure the Diocese will abide by its responsibility to the dozens of kids just like him who were so seriously hurt under the its watch.”
Hearing will be held March 29 – Anderson Optimistic
A hearing will be held on March 29th in Duluth to determine whether Doe 524 will be allowed to join in the two lawsuits. Anderson said although there are always legal challenges he is optimistic Doe 524 will be allowed to join the suits. “The issues in these cases are too important and will impact too many survivors for them not to have a voice in the matter,” said Anderson. “History has informed us the Diocese is not equipped to be a voice for survivors on such an important issue.”