SAN DIEGO, California (LifeSiteNews) — The Diocese of San Diego is facing yet another lawsuit regarding clerical sexual abuse cases, this time from its own insurance company.
On Friday, March 3, the Catholic Mutual Relief Society of America, also known as Catholic Mutual Group, filed a lawsuit in federal court against the San Diego diocese, accusing it of violating the terms of its policies. The insurance company claims it is not legally bound to continue paying settlements the diocese reaches with victims of clerical sex abuse.
According to the lawsuit, Catholic Mutual Group accused the diocese of knowing that numerous members of its clergy “had proclivities toward sexual abuse of children such that coverage is precluded.”
The insurance company also alleged that recent diocesan statements about the abuse cases violated the terms of the insurance policy. On Feb. 9, Cardinal Robert McElroy announced to San Diego Catholics that the diocese may be filing for bankruptcy because of the magnitude of the more than 400 cases it was facing, many of which dated to the 1960s through the 1980s. In a news conference the following day, Kevin Eckery, communications director for the diocese, estimated that it would cost the diocese $550 million to settle all of the current cases.
READ: Cdl. McElroy’s diocese faces bankruptcy over more than 400 clerical sexual abuse claims
The San Diego Tribune reported that, according to the lawsuit, Catholic Mutual Group is arguing that “those statements were made without consulting with the insurance company, violating the ‘duty to cooperate’ under the policy and ‘effectively placed an unreasonable baseline on the value on the potential settlement value of these claims.’”
The company has asked the judge to order that it has no duty to “defend or indemnify” the Diocese of San Diego or any of its parishes against allegations of clerical sexual abuse dating from 1958 through 1990, the period over which, it appears, the majority of the cases took place. Catholic Mutual Group is arguing that its policies, which were established years ago, effectively capped how much could be paid out.
Eckery responded with surprise to the news of the lawsuit, saying, “We will be opposing this in court.”
Catholic Mutual Group is not the only entity to take issue with San Diego’s handling of clerical abuse cases. In response to the cardinal’s announcement of the potential filing for bankruptcy, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), a support group for victims of clerical abuse, denounced the move as yet another effort by McElroy and the Diocese of San Diego to obfuscate full exposure of the truth and all pertinent evidence regarding the cases brought forward.
In a statement, the group said, “Regardless of the outcome this time around, we call on California Attorney General Rob Bonta of California to use the powers of his office, including subpoena power, to get to the answers and secrets that church officials are trying to keep by moving toward bankruptcy.”
McElroy himself is known to have kept priests in ministry after allegations of sexual abuse have been substantiated and was accused of refusing to cooperate in the investigation of what turned out to be a satanic ritual rape by a priest of the diocese committed just over a decade ago.
The cardinal has also openly pushed for the acceptance of sexually deviant lifestyles and behaviors, denying the teaching of Scripture and the Church that all sexual acts outside of marriage are gravely sinful. McElroy published a recent essay in America Magazine in which he called for active homosexuals to be admitted to Holy Communion, for which he has been publicly corrected by several U.S. prelates, including Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver Bishops James Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska, Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, and Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas.
Bishop Paprocki stepped up his criticism of McElroy, accusing him and other dissident prelates of “heresy” and suggesting that they have excommunicated themselves from the Catholic Church.
READ: Bishop Paprocki accuses Cardinal McElroy of ‘heresy,’ says he may have excommunicated himself
After the explosive backlash from fellow bishops and accusations of heresy, McElroy doubled down on his call to give the Eucharist to “sexually active” people in mortal sin and escalated his attacks on Catholic sexual ethics in another heresy-laden essay.
McElroy has also advocated for transgender ideology and practices — which permanently and irreversibly harm children through the mutilation of healthy body parts — hosting a nationally known drag queen at a Mass for LGBT children and their families.
In light of these facts, it would seem difficult, if not impossible, for a bishop who rejects the Church’s fundamental teachings on sexual morality and sin to properly and adequately address the problem of clerical sexual abuse.
Two more bishops condemn Cdl. McElroy’s attack on Catholic moral teaching
Bp. Paprocki, Abp. Naumann fire back at Cdl. McElroy for attacking Catholic moral teaching