May 13, 2006

Judge imposes temporary gag order in church abuse cases

Burling Free Press

Published: Saturday, May 13, 2006
Free Press Staff Report

The judge presiding over more than 20 Roman Catholic priest sex-abuse cases pending in Chittenden Superior Court has ordered that no more documents connected with the cases be released until he holds a hearing on a request to release additional documents.

Judge Ben Joseph issued two orders this week in response to a motion filed by Robert Hemley, a lawyer representing The Burlington Free Press and WCAX-TV seeking access to more church records related to the 20 cases filed with the court.

The statewide Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington is facing allegations it failed to protect altar boys at various parishes in the state from being molested by certain priests. Last month, the diocese paid $965,000 to settle the first of the cases.

When the settlement was announced, Joseph agreed to lift a gag order he previously imposed to ensure an unbiased jury would be selected for a trial in the case.

Posted by kshaw at May 13, 2006 07:50 AM