Insurers sue Indianapolis archdiocese over sexual misconduct policy

Keywords Law / Lawsuits

Insurance underwriters have sued the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis, claiming it failed to disclose allegations against a suspended priest on its application for a sexual misconduct liability policy.

The federal lawsuit was filed Monday in U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Indiana. The plaintiffs, identified as underwriters in the famed Lloyd’s of London insurance marketplace, ask the court to rescind the policy.

The suit refers to allegations against Father David Marcotte, who was suspended from ministry by the archdiocese on Feb. 12, 2019, after a report of sexual abuse involving a minor was received by the archdiocese’s victim assistance coordinator. The church immediately reported the allegations to law enforcement.

Marcotte was removed from ministry days later by Archbishop Charles Thompson. According to the lawsuit, the alleged victim’s father told the victim assistance coordinator on Feb. 13, 2019, that he intended to sue the archdiocese in connection with the abuse of his son.

However, when the archdiocese executed its application for sexual misconduct liability insurance on June 27, 2019, it said that it wasn’t aware of any allegations that might result in claims being made against the church, according to the lawsuit.

In a separate question on the application, the archdiocese also indicated that no employee had been involved in an allegation or claim relating to sexual abuse.

The underwriters claim in the lawsuit that the archdiocese’s failure to disclose allegations involving Marcotte renders the policy null and void.

“If the Archdiocese had disclosed the allegations against Marcotte and its removal of Marcotte from ministry in the Application, Underwriters would not have issued the Policy or would have issued the Policy on different terms,” the suit states.

A representative of the archdiocese told IBJ on Tuesday morning that it had not yet been served the lawsuit. “Therefore, we cannot respond until we have the opportunity to thoroughly examine the lawsuit,” he said.

Marcotte, 33, was arrested on Oct. 25, 2019, in Hamilton County on three felony counts related to sex abuse involving a minor. He was ordained in 2014.

A jury trial has been scheduled for Oct. 12.

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