Monday, June 07, 2010

Vermont: Settlement in Priest Abuse Cases

Vermont: Settlement in Priest Abuse Cases
Published: May 13, 2010

Dozens of former altar boys who sued the Roman Catholic Church in Vermont over accusations of sexual abuse by priests will share in a nearly $18 million settlement of their cases. The lawyer for the 26 former altar boys and the bishop of the statewide Diocese of Burlington said Thursday that they were pleased by the settlement. The lawsuits accused the diocese of negligent hiring, and many of the cases centered on the former Rev. Edward Paquette, who was the target of accusations before he transferred to Vermont in the mid-1970s. Last month, a judge set a Sept. 20 trial date for the cases unless they could be settled out of court. In addition to the 26 pending cases that were settled for $17.65 million, the two sides agreed to settle three cases that had already been decided in court and were on appeal. The diocese said those settlements would remain confidential. In a statement posted on the Web site of the 118,000-member diocese, Bishop Salvatore Matano said that to make the payment, the church would sell its Burlington headquarters, which includes prime, undeveloped Lake Champlain waterfront property, and a lakeside summer camp on Malletts Bay in Colchester.

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