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Tuesday, May 28, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Insurer Says It Has No Role in Church Sex Case

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (CN) - A West Virginia Baptist church accused of covering up the sexual and emotional abuse of a minor shouldn't expect anyone but itself to bear the cost of its legal defense, the church's former insurer says.

The Bible Baptist Church, in Belva, W.Va., its Blue Creek Academy, in Clendenin, W.Va., and two of their employees are accused in an underlying lawsuit if subjecting a minor in their care to among other things, sexual abuse, starvation and isolation.

The plaintiff in the current action provided the defendant church and academy with liability insurance from June 13, 2011, to June 13, 2014.

"Some of the Church Defendants have requested insurance coverage (defense and indemnity) from Brotherhood for the allegations and claims in the Underlying Action," according to Jan. 21 complaint filed by Brotherhood Mutual. "Brotherhood denies that it has or had any obligation to defend or indemnify any of the Church Defendants."

The Indiana-based insurance agency says it is not responsible for coverage because the church applied for coverage after its Blue Creek Academy was established and defendant Waldeck "failed to reveal the existence of the Academy and/or its activities, which constitutes willful concealment or misrepresentation."

Brotherhood Mutual asserts that the church's policy explicitly states that non-church exposures, including schools, are not covered under the church's policy.

A church official could not be reached for comment. Defendant James Waldeck's son, James Waldeck II., told Courthouse News that he is confident speaking on behalf of the church and his father. "Brotherhood Mutual doesn't want to pay the money because of some reasons that are unique to them. We don't know really why. But that's really all there is to it. The rest of the information on the case is in the complaint," he said.

Anthony Sunseri of Burns White LLC in Wheeling, W.Va. represents Brotherhood Mutual and did not return Courthouse News' call for comment.

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