Church Again Tries to Remove Trial Judge

By Kevin O'Connor
Times Argus [Vermont]
January 31, 2007

For a third time, lawyers tied to Vermont's Catholic Church are trying to disqualify the judge presiding over a string of priest misconduct lawsuits.

Attorneys representing the statewide Diocese of Burlington sought the removal of Chittenden Superior Court Judge Ben Joseph on two occasions this past year, most recently after Joseph was about to decide whether church lawyer William M. O'Brien of Winooski should be sanctioned for failing to share three decades of personnel records with accusers.

Vermont Administrative Judge Amy Davenport denied the second request last week. But O'Brien has filed a motion asking Davenport to reconsider Joseph's disqualification, saying the basis of her latest decision was "simply wrong."

Joseph was supposed to hold a hearing Nov. 22 on whether the diocese and O'Brien should be sanctioned for failing to share the complete personnel files of


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