April 20, 2006

Church settles abuse case

Rutland Herald

April 20, 2006

By KEVIN O'CONNOR Herald Staff

BURLINGTON - Vermont's Catholic Church will pay a record $965,000 to settle the first of 17 priest misconduct lawsuits against it.

The statewide Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington was supposed to defend itself Wednesday in the Chittenden Superior Court case of Michael Gay, a 38-year-old South Burlington man who said the Rev. Edward Paquette "sexually abused and sexually exploited" him as an altar boy from ages 10 to 12.

But immediately upon the start of the trial, Judge Ben Joseph announced the two sides had settled the civil lawsuit, which alleged the diocese knew the priest had a history of assaulting boys but did nothing to stop him.

The diocese's lawyer, David Cleary of Rutland, acknowledged the church knew Paquette had abused boys in two states when it assigned him to parishes in Rutland in 1972, Montpelier in 1974 and Burlington in 1976.

Posted by kshaw at April 20, 2006 07:09 AM