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Insurance Woes May Have a Good Side

March 26, 1994

Re: "Insurers Adopting Hard-line Stance on Sex Abuse Coverage," March 19:

I am glad that insurance companies are now beginning to take a hard-line stance on clergy sex abuse coverage. It will force churches to change the way they deal with this problem.

If churches cannot get insurance to cover sexual abuse by their clergy, they will finally be forced to take a good hard look at just whom they are ordaining and make some much needed changes in their recruitment and screening processes. Clergy who molest children will increasingly be convicted and sent to prison rather than moved to new, unsuspecting parishes or sent to ineffective treatment centers. Also, it will be next to impossible for these men to get back into active ministry once they are released from prison because as convicted sex offenders, they will be such liabilities that no parish would take them.

If churches had dealt with this problem in a concerned, moral way to begin with, they wouldn't be in this mess today. Doesn't the Book of Job say something like, "Those who sow trouble reap the same"?

MARY ELLEN BARNES

San Pedro

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