Evangelism Exposed

“Jesus wept.” Joh 11:35

Attorney: Diocese had history of ignoring priest sexual misconduct

An attorney for the state’s Roman Catholic diocese told a Burlington jury Wednesday it will have to step back in time in order to fairly decide if the church should pay monetary damages to a former altar boy fondled by a priest in 1978.

“More than one of you on the jury wasn’t alive then,” attorney Tom McCormick told the jury on the opening day of the second priest sexual abuse trial in four months. “How you and we can legitimately put ourselves back then, that is the challenge of this case.”

The case involves claims by a Waitsfield man who alleges that as an altar boy at Christ the King Church in Burlington in 1977 and 1978, he was fondled by the Rev. Edward Paquette between 20 and 50 times.

The man is suing the church, contending it knew Paquette was a pedophile when it hired him and failed to prevent Paquette from molesting him and other altar boys. The Free Press does not identify the victims of alleged sexual abuse without their consent.

Jerome O’Neill, the man’s attorney, told the jury during his opening arguments that the diocese was liable for damages because it ignored evidence of Paquette’s sexual misconduct and had a history of overlooking priest sexual misconduct with children.

“This was part of a larger pattern of practice by this diocese,” O’Neill said of the incidents involving his client.

The trial is expected to continue through next week [source].

August 13, 2008 - Posted by | Altar Boys, Closing Churches, Sex Abuse

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