Insurers want out of defending Aurora, Dundee school districts in sex abuse lawsuits

Insurance carriers for two Kane County school districts facing lawsuits involving teachers who were arrested and charged with sexually abusing students have each filed court petitions asking to be removed from the obligation to insure and pay any potential damages.

In separate cases, judges will decide whether carriers for East Aurora District 131 and Community Unit District 300 should be removed from the pending litigation.

The Illinois School District Agency has petitioned to be removed from defending Juan Avendano, 63, of Aurora, a former Bardwell Elementary School kindergarten teacher charged with sexually abusing students, according to Kane County court records. District 131 and Bardwell Principal Twila Garza are also named in the suit.

Attorneys for the IDSA argue it has "no duty to defend" the case because the damages sought are in "connection with actual, threatened or alleged sexual abuse," according to the suit.

The two sides are due before a judge Sept. 9.

The West Bend Mutual Insurance Company also recently filed similar litigation seeking to be removed from defending Algonquin-based District 300 and former Golfview Elementary School substitute teacher Carlos A. Bedoya, 63, of Lake in the Hills, who is charged with sexually abusing 10 students.

Five lawsuits have been filed against Bedoya, arguing school officials failed to take action to protect students. The suits have been consolidated into one overall lawsuit, which is next due in court Aug. 13.

The insurance policy litigation argues the conduct of Bedoya was intentional in nature and not an accidental "occurrence" as required by the insurance policy. The insurance matter is due before a judge Oct. 10.

Bedoya is held at the Kane County jail on $4.8 million bail and is next due in court Monday.

Avendano, who is free on bond and charged with abusing two students in 2014, 2016 and 2017, appeared in court briefly Thursday and is next due in court Oct. 2.

The lawsuit against him, Twila and the district is next due in court Aug. 14.

If convicted in the sex cases, each man faces a significant prison term and lifetime registration as a sex offender. Both school districts have said their top priority is student safety and have declined to comment the lawsuits because they were ongoing.

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Carlos A. Bedoya
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