Vermont Catholic Diocese Settles Sex Abuse Cases

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The Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington (Vermont) agreed on Wednesday to settle 11 sex abuse cases just as the trial of one of the cases was about to begin in federal court.

The Associated Press (AP) reports that the federal trial  involved claims by a man who said Reverend Edward Paquette groped him in 1974, when he was 12 years old. Nine of the 11 cases settled involve accusations that Rev. Paquette abused altar boys in the years between 1972 and 1978.  The other cases settled on Wednesday were being prepared to go to trial in Chittenden County Superior Court.

Mr. Paquette, the AP said, was defrocked and banished by the diocese after complaints by parents of the boys. Three years ago the diocese agreed to pay $17.6 million to settle 26 molestation cases; 19 of those cases involved Mr. Paquette, who lives in Westfield, Massachusetts.

Neither side disclosed details of the settlement.