Ludlow Priest Put on Leave
June 17, 2002
A former Massachusetts county commissioner has charged the pastor of Ludlow's Catholic Church with sexual misconduct.
Paul Babeu, 33, of North Adams, Mass., told the Union-News newspaper of Springfield, Mass., last week that he was 15 when the Rev. George Paulin made sexual advances toward him while serving at a Vermont church near the Canadian border.
Babeu alleges another priest drove him to Paulin's parish in North Troy, where he was left "to fend off the Vermont priest's all-night advances," the Union-News reported Friday.
Babeu said he reported the incident to Vermont's Catholic diocese in 1987.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington told the Rutland Herald newspaper that Paulin was on leave, but would not discuss the issue further.
Paulin left his parish May 24, the same day the Vermont diocese ordered six unidentified priests to take leaves while the state Attorney General's Office investigates sexual misconduct charges against them, the Herald reported.
Babeu made his comments at a press conference in Springfield about the Rev. Richard Lavigne, a convicted child molester who served in parishes across western Massachusetts.
Babeu said Lavigne drove him to Vermont once and left him with Paulin at St. Vincent de Paul Church in North Troy. Babeu said he reported the incident to Vermont's Catholic diocese in 1987, and gave reporters a letter from then-Bishop John Marshall to back up his claims.
Marshall's March 13, 1987, letter to Babeu reads: "I was disappointed and disturbed in learning about the allegations against Reverend George A. Paulin, inasmuch as I have never heard any rumor, innuendo or complaint - directly or indirectly - that would indicate that he possessed pedophilic tendencies. I have discussed this matter, among other things, with Father George Paulin and he denies the allegations against him. Nevertheless, I shall remain vigilant with regard to his conduct."
Babeu told the Union-News "it's an outrage that the diocese of Burlington waited" to place Paulin on leave since he reported "sexual misconduct and this terrible offense back in 1987."
Paulin was ordained in 1970 and served in North Troy from 1984 until last year, when he was transferred to the Church of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Ludlow.
Neither the diocese nor the attorney general have named the six Vermont priests being investigated, although the Rev. James McShane of Rutland, the Rev. John Milanese of Randolph and the Rev. Donal Ward of Vergennes have confirmed they are on leave and under review.
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