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CASA vigil is canceled due to insurance issues

October 01, 2005|By PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN

CASA Inc. of Washington County had to cancel a Friday night candlelight vigil scheduled to kick off Domestic Violence Awareness Month because its insurance company wouldn't cover the event, saying it has had problems in the past with "irate husbands showing up" at such gatherings, CASA Executive Director Viki Sadehvandi said Friday.

The Citizens Assisting and Sheltering the Abused (CASA) vigil was to be in Hagerstown's Public Square on Friday at 7:30 p.m., featuring speakers, including county, city and state representatives and a victim, Sadehvandi said.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the vigil, which would have been the first in CASA's 28-year history here, "would have been very simple, but we thought it would be nice," Sadehvandi said.

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An honor guard and a bagpiper, who was scheduled to play "Amazing Grace," were among the 100 to 150 people planning to attend, she said.

Sadehvandi said CASA Inc. of Washington County's insurance company, Brethren Mutual Insurance Co., told her Wednesday that it couldn't offer the group extra liability insurance to hold the event outside its already covered locations because "of problems with other agencies that have had special events where irate husbands show up."

CASA's West Baltimore Street building and its shelter already are covered by insurance, she said.

Since Wednesday, employees had been searching for insurance to cover it, but had no luck. They spent Friday trying to notify everyone who had planned to attend that they had to cancel, Sadehvandi said.

Sadehvandi said she understands the insurance company's standpoint.

"That is a possibility that some people see CASA as the reason their wife is no longer with them," she said.

"It certainly is an awakening for me," Sadehvandi said.

Throughout the month, CASA will be working on getting the word out on domestic violence to the community. Sadehvandi said the agency will have a storefront in downtown Hagerstown and a display at Washington County Free Library. On Tuesday, the Washington County Commissioners are scheduled to sign a proclamation recognizing the month.

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