A planned protest outside Travelers insurance company in St. Paul by sexual abuse victims in lawsuits filed against the Children's Theatre Company has been canceled.
Laura Stearns, one of 17 plaintiffs who have filed lawsuits against the Children's Theatre Company (CTC), had organized the protest Friday outside Travelers, one of the theater's insurance companies, alleging that the insurer was behind CTC's initial effort to recoup legal costs from Stearns, which was later dropped.
But she said Wednesday that she's instead "condensing efforts" with what's become a weekly protest on Saturdays since June outside the Minneapolis theater.
Her case was the first of the 17 cases to go to trial. The jury found that CTC had been negligent but wasn't liable for damages.
Stearns contends that the outcome of her case would have been different had jurors known that insurance companies, not CTC, were on the hook for paying any damages; state law restricts revealing that information at trial.
In her case, the jury did return a $3.68 million verdict against Jason McLean, a former teacher whom Stearns accused of raping her in the 1980s, but McLean apparently fled to Mexico, and Stearns said she's unlikely to recover any money from him.
In a statement last week, a Travelers spokesman said that "abuse of any kind is unconscionable, and our heart goes out to the victims. … We have resolved many abuse cases on behalf of our policyholders over the years, and we continue to empathize with the victims in these unfortunate situations."
The next case against CTC and McLean involves a plaintiff referred to as Doe 76. It's scheduled for trial on Oct. 21.