Insurer needn’t pay archdiocese for abuse-related death claim settlement

Business Insurance

Judy Greenwald

A Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co. unit is not obligated to pay for settlement of a wrongful death claim filed against the Archdiocese of St. Louis in connection with a man’s suicide allegedly caused by a priest’s sexual abuse because the archdiocese could not be held legally liable for the claim, says an appellate court.

Allen Klump, the father of Christopher Klump, filed a wrongful death suit against the Archdiocese of St. Louis in state court in June 2003, charging that a priest employed by the archdiocese had sexually molested his son, which eventually led to Christopher’s suicide, according to Wednesday’s ruling by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis in Chicago Insurance Co. v. Archdiocese of St. Louis; Robert J. Carlson, Archbishop, Father Michael S. McGrath.

According to a news report, Mr. Klump charged in his suit that his 30-year-old son killed himself as a direct result of the sexual abuse he had suffered as a preteen in the 1980s at the hands of a priest during outings billed as spiritual counseling. The report said the accused priest was suspended by the archdiocese in 1997.

The parties subsequently entered into a settlement for an undisclosed amount that released the archdiocese from any future liability associated with the alleged misconduct, according to the ruling. The archdiocese then sought indemnification for its loss.

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