May 22, 2006

Bishop apologizes after being scolded

VERMONT
Bennington Banner

The Associated Press

Monday, May 22
BURLINGTON (AP) A South Burlington man who was abused by a Catholic priest as a boy is harshly criticizing a comment by Bishop Salvatore Matano, who said victims' lawsuits are an "unbridled, unjust and terribly unreasonable assault" on the church.

"Those were just horrible words," said Michael Gay, 38, in response to the comments by the head of the Catholic Diocese for Vermont. "How does anyone dare to say it was us, the victims, who assaulted them?

"How dare they do what they did to all of us kids and now they are trying to push us all back in a corner?" he asked. "That was a slap in our faces."

Gay, who settled his suit against the diocese last month for $965,000, also said he was angry about court papers filed by the church's lawyers last week that brought up information about Gay's sexual history and marital issues.

The diocese was seeking to have the judge in that case, Ben Joseph, removed from future cases involving sexual abuse by priests.

Told of Gay's comments, Matano said he was very sorry if his comments had hurt Gay or other victims of sexual abuse by priests. He said that applied as well to the 19 who have filed suit against the diocese in Chittenden Superior Court.

Posted by kshaw at May 22, 2006 07:20 AM