Judge to consider secrecy of insurance records in abuse case

Associated Press [New York NY]

February 8, 2022

A federal judge will hold a hearing on whether the Archdiocese of Santa Fe must disclose records on insurance coverage expected to pay much of a settlement in a case involving over 400 hundreds of victims of clergy sexual abuse.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge David T. Thuma scheduled a hearing Monday on the archdiocese’s request last month to seal the documents because agreements between the archdiocese and insurers indicated they’d be confidential, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

Diocese attorney Thomas Walker said breaching those agreements’ confidentiality provisions could cause them to be voided and lead to expensive and extended litigation of coverage disputes.

Merit Benefit, a lawyer for several victims, objected to confidentiality and sealing of records and told the New Mexican in an interview that secrecy is what led to the tragedy of widespread priest abuse of children in the first place.