I recently saw an article on the insurancejournal.com website detailing the terms of a settlement between the catholic archdiocese of Seattle, Washington and eight women who were the victims of sexual abuse by Catholic Priest back in the 1960s and 70s. These eight women had settled their claim for $9 million and part of the reason for the sizeable amount of the settlement was because of the overwhelming evidence against the archdiocese in terms of its protection of the offending priest. Apparently, before the priest was placed in contact with these 8 girls, there have been a bunch of complaints made by other members of the archdiocese and other staff in other clergy indicating that it was very likely that this priest was a problem and that he was abusing girls or at least suspected of abusing girls. Nevertheless, the archbishop, the person who was in-charge of the archdiocese still moved this priest around through the archdiocese to different churches, thus leading to the abuse of the eight women.

So this is sort of a classic case of a negligent hiring or negligent supervision, negligent retention situation where you have an employee, in this case, a priest, who you have every reason to know is abusing children and yet that person is allowed to stay on and oftentimes move from place to place within the same organization. When an organization does something like this, it’s terrible. And it leads to the kind of result that was talked about in this particular case.

So, if you have any questions regarding a child sexual abuse case in Florida or how an organization has hired or retained its people and how that may have some bearing on a child sexual abuse case, please call me or my partner Robert Hemphill at (407) 254-4901.

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