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Court rules for archdiocese in priest abuse insurance case

HARTFORD — A federal appeals court says an insurance company must reimburse the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford nearly $1 million for payments the archdiocese made to settle sexual misconduct cases involving priests and minors.

A three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York on Wednesday upheld a lower court ruling in the archdiocese’s favor.

Chicago-based Interstate Fire & Casualty refused to reimburse the archdiocese, citing an assault and battery exemption in the insurance policy. Many policies don’t cover intentional acts, but church officials argued they did not know about the alleged assaults and sued the insurer in 2012.

The settlements, one of many paid by the archdiocese in priest abuse cases, involved four claims of sexual misconduct by priests against minors in the 1970s and 1980s.