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Insurance Coverage of Sexual Misconduct

Be sure to know what your policy covers.

Key point. Church insurance policies may provide no coverage to clergy and other church staff who engage in sexual misconduct.

A Colorado court ruled that a church insurance policy could not be tapped to pay a judgment rendered against a minister in a sexual misconduct case. A woman sued her former minister and her church on the basis of injuries she suffered as a result of the minister's sexual misconduct. A jury ruled that the minister was liable for the woman's injuries and awarded a monetary judgment in her favor. The minister insisted that the judgment against him was covered under a church insurance policy. A trial court disagreed, concluding that the policy clearly excluded any coverage for such acts. A state appeals court agreed with the trial court. The court noted that "if the meaning of the insurance policy is expressed in plain, certain, and readily understandable language, ...

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  • September 1, 1997

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