April 05, 2006

Former priest facing molestation claims won't attend trial

Burlington Free Press

Published: Wednesday, April 5, 2006
By Sam Hemingway
Free Press Staff Writer

The retired former priest facing 12 lawsuits alleging he sexually molested altar boys at Roman Catholic parishes in Vermont will not appear in court to defend himself when the first of the cases goes to trial later this month.

In a letter sent to a Chittenden Superior Court clerk last week, Edward Paquette of Westfield, Mass., cited health and economic reasons for his decision not to attend the trial, scheduled to begin April 19 or 20.

"I'm soon to have daily radiation treatments for prostate cancer," Paquette wrote in a March 29 letter to the court. "So, will not be able to attend the trial ... Also, cannot attend trial for financial reasons, cannot afford to stay in a motel, restaurant meals for duration of the trial."

Paquette, who was stripped of his priestly duties by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington in 1978, has not been provided legal services by the diocese, his co-defendant in the 12 cases.

Posted by kshaw at April 5, 2006 06:48 AM