Diocese, Victims’ Lawyers Go Before Montana Judge

By MATT VOLZ | December 6, 2012

Attorneys for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena and for hundreds of alleged sex abuse victims will update a Montana judge on their negotiations since the church’s insurers balked over paying claims.

A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday before District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock of Helena.

More than 300 people have claimed abuse at the hands of priests and nuns when they were children in western Montana. The claims go back as far as the 1940s.

For months, the sides had cooperated in interviewing the alleged victims and working toward a mediated settlement.

But in November, the church’s insurers and the alleged victims each filed lawsuits over the insurers’ refusal to cover the diocese’s claims.

The lawsuits seek court declarations of the scope of the policies issued by the insurers.

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