Victim Testifies in Priest Sex Abuse Case
Burlington Diocese Trial Continues Wednesday

December 9, 2008

[with video]

BURLINGTON, Vt. — The plaintiff in the latest trial against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington, Vt., took the stand Tuesday.

Victim Testifies In Priest Sex Abuse Case

The now 43-year-old man said the Rev. Edward Paquette molested him twice while he was an altar boy at Christ the King Church when the man was 12 years old. The trial is the third of its kind this year against the diocese.


Victim Testifies In Priest Sex Abuse Case — Part 1

Victim Testifies In Priest Sex Abuse Case — Part 2

Victim Testifies In Priest Sex Abuse Case — Part 3

NewsChannel 5 does not identify victims of sexual abuse.

In court Tuesday, the victim said Paquette had asked him to become an altar boy, and he said the molestation happened when he had just started learning about the duties.

"I remember that it hurt. I was completely confused. I had not been an altar boy before, and believe it or not, the first thing that came to mind was, was this the way the priest helps you get dressed?" said the plaintiff.

He said he knew the second time Paquette molested him, it was wrong. But he said he was worried he would get in trouble. "I started out with a lot of fear of getting in trouble, but then it turned into more just guilt, and feeling bad and dirty," he said.

The plaintiff described leading a life filled with anxiety, since he was in sixth grade, after he said the incidents happened.

The defense asked him why he was bringing his claim to Chittenden Superior Court, and whether he had sued Paquette, which the plaintiff said he had not. "You're trying to get monetary damages here because you are claiming that you were harmed somehow, emotionally harmed, is that the claim?" defense attorney Kaveh Shahi asked. Shahi asked him further, why he may have told a local reporter about the abuse back in 2002, before telling his parents.

All three trials this year involve allegations the diocese failed to protect young people against Paquette even though church officials knew of previous child abuse allegations against him. One trial ended with an $8.7 million award against the diocese. The other ended with a hung jury. The most recent case seeks unspecified damages.

The latest trial continues Wednesday. A defense attorney said it could last a few more days. He said it's unclear if the Diocese's current Bishop Salvatore Matano will take the stand in this trial.


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