Evangelism Exposed

“Jesus wept.” Joh 11:35

Lawsuit: Priest’s therapist molested boy

[Source] August 31, 2008:

BURLINGTON, Vt.—The church therapist who treated a Vermont Roman Catholic priest accused of molesting boys later became the target of a Massachusetts lawsuit alleging he, too, engaged in sex acts with a boy for nine years, beginning when the boy was 9.

The Rev. Thomas Kane of Whitinsville, Mass., was executive director of the House of Affirmation in Whitinsville. That’s where the Diocese of Burlington sent the Rev. Edward Paquette to be treated after learning Paquette had molested two boys in Rutland.

Court papers in Vermont and Massachusetts indicate the dates of Kane’s alleged abuse of the Uxbridge, Mass., boy — 1968 to 1977 — coincide with the period from 1974 to 1978 that Paquette was being treated, for much of the time via monthly visits, at the House of Affirmation.

There’s no evidence that officials in the Vermont diocese, including then-Bishop John Marshall, were aware of Kane’s alleged sexual misconduct during the period he was providing therapy to Paquette.

Kane’s alleged victim filed suit in Suffolk County Superior Court in Boston in 1993; the case settled out of court two years later for $42,500. The Associated Press does not identify alleged victims of sexual abuse.

Nineteen lawsuits have been filed in Vermont alleging that Paquette molested boys while serving as a priest in Burlington, Montpelier and Rutland in the 1970s. Four have ended with jury verdicts or been settled out of court and 15 are pending.

Church records in Vermont show that Marshall knew Paquette had a history of molesting boys at parishes in Massachusetts and Indiana, but allowed him to join the Vermont diocese after being told by a church psychiatrist in Indiana that Paquette’s problem had been cured.

Kane also provided a positive review of Paquette’s progress in therapy. “It is my opinion that Father Paquette should return as soon as possible to a parish setting and observe the signals of caution which we have discussed,” Kane wrote to Marshall on Nov. 6., 1974.

Another exchange of letters between Kane and Marshall in 1978 showed new allegations of sexual misconduct were being directed at Paquette.

Marshall wrote to Kane that he was considering leaving Paquette in his role as parish priest at Christ the King Church in Burlington despite the new allegations.

“Despite the demands of two sets of irate parents that ‘something be done about this,’ Father Paquette’s pastor and I are determined to take the risk of leaving him in his present assignment,” Marshall wrote to Kane on April 4, 1978.

“Our thinking is that, knowing the awareness of others concerning his problem, Father Paquette will have reason for ‘self control’,” the bishop added. “Do you agree with this thinking?”

Kane replied, “I do agree with your thinking. I do not believe it is ‘too risky’ to leave Father Paquette in his present assignment but, of course, can make no predictions.”

Later that month, increased pressure from parents in the parish forced Marshall to change his mind. He wrote to Kane, “The situation had become so explosive that I had no other recourse but to ask Father Paquette to leave the parish immediately.”

No telephone listing could be found Sunday for Edward Paquette at his last known address in Westfield, Mass. A message left at the headquarters of the Diocese of Worcester, which includes Whitinsville, was not immediately returned Sunday. News reports from 2002 placed Kane in Mexico.

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August 31, 2008 - Posted by | Catholic Church, Sex Abuse

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