Insurance Companies Enabling and Concealing Sexual Abuse

Insurance Companies Enabling and Concealing Sexual Abuse

Attorney Blasts Insurers in Missouri Serial Child Molester Case

Statement by Attorney Jeff Anderson

A church camp that employed a now-imprisoned serial child molester is suing its insurance company because that company won’t honor its obligations to help make dozens of the predators’ victims whole.

We support this move and hope the camp prevails. All too often these days, insurance companies block the compensation of child sex abuse victims. They blame the direct supervisors of predators while ignoring or denying their role in covering up those same crimes.

“We have been representing survivors for decades, and every week for 40 years, we have been seeing insurers make the decisions to protect Catholic bishops and enablers of sex abuse to avoid responsibility and accountability,” said attorney Jeff Anderson. “This is a pattern and a problem, and it’s time for the insurance companies to take responsibility for its role in the crisis.”

Kanakuk Kamp, a large faith-based institution in southwestern Missouri, is suing ACE American Insurance Company over crimes committed by ex-counselor Pete Newman.

In a court filing last year, Kanakuk Kamp officials admitted “that it had withheld information about Newman’s previous abuse from victims and their families.” Still, Kanakuk Kamp officials argued that their secrecy was “due to advice from their adjuster.”

“This is a long history of insurer’s participation in concealing crimes and protecting abusers.” – Jeff Anderson

“Court documents include a 2010 letter from ACE American Insurance Company recommending that Kanakuk not let families know about Newman’s misconduct and the camp’s response since ‘Such disclosures threaten to expose Kanakuk to greater liability and may interfere with ACE’s contractual right to defend claims and to have Kanakuk’s cooperation in that defense.’

ACE American wants to have its cake and eat it, too. Years ago, their staffer urged camp officials to stay silent about a child predator. But now, the insurer wants to save money, evade responsibility, and shift all blame to camp officials for Newman’s continued crimes, EVEN THOUGH the firm contributed to those crimes.

ACE American helped enable Newman’s predatory actions. They must now help Newman’s victims.

It’s time for this insurance company and others to stop ducking, dodging, and denying. Justice requires that they step up and do what they’ve long promised to do: help the institutions that paid hefty sums for years resolve abuse cases and bring healing and closure to thousands of still-suffering victims of heinous child sex crimes.