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Insurer Says Diocese Is on Its Own

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (CN) - TIG Insurance has no obligation to defend the Diocese of Belleville and its former priest Raymond Kownacki in two sex abuse cases, the insurer claims in court.

In its request for declaratory judgment, TIG claims the sexual abuse charges two John Does are excluded from its bodily injury policy, which covers injuries caused by Diocese members "within the scope of their respective duties."

In its federal complaint, TIG also says the policy contains a child molestation exclusion that states: "This policy does not apply to any injury sustained by any person arising out of or resulting from molesting of minors by:

"1. any Insured;

"2. any employee of any Insured, or

"3. any person performing volunteer services for or on behalf of any Insured.

"The company shall not have any duty to defend any suit against the Insured seeking damages on account of any such injury."

The John Does sued the Diocese in 2011 and 2012. Both say Kownacki sexually abused them in the 1980s, while he was a priest for the Belleville Diocese.

Both claim the diocese knew about the abuse, but simply shuffled Kownacki from parish to parish after abuse claims were made.

Kownacki, who was removed from ministry in the mid-90s, is retired and lives in St. Louis.

TIG is represented by Timothy Muehleisen with SmithAmundsen in St. Louis.

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