Another Multimillion Dollar Award against the Burlington Diocese

Fox 44

December 17, 2008

The verdict is in: a Burlington jury awards more than $3.5 million to a former altar boy who says the church didn't do enough to protect him from a pedophile priest.

After 13 hours of deliberation the jury awarded a multimillion dollar verdict to a former victim of priest Edward Paquette. That's the second time this year a jury has blamed the Burlington Diocese for hiring Paquette in the 1970s, knowing he had previously molested altar boys in three states, including Vermont.

"I'm confident that they voted with the conscience to met out justice in my case," said victim David Navari.

Navari wanted to speak with reporters after his verdict was announced, "I'm asking the diocese to help to protect the children."

Navari is also asking that priests with credible evidence against them be listed with their pictures, and assignments on the diocesan website. And Navari went further, saying he would donate his entire $3.6 million award to a trust for needy families who want to send their kids to burlington catholic schools. But only if the diocese would defrock the priests in question, and stop paying them retirement benefits.

Before leaving Navari said, "the parents deserve to know."

Looking visibly upset, Burlington's Bishop Salvatore Matano regretted the abuse Navari suffered, "I never expected to be dealing with these kinds of situations, I'm doing the best I can to deal with them."

Then Matano broke down. "I know I'm not meeting the expectations of the faithful and of the victims."

The Bishop said he believes that no one is above the law church clergy included. "I deeply regret the decisions that were made, which have proved to be wrong," Matano said.

Lawyers for the diocese say they'll appeal this verdict, just like it did with a May verdict awarding nearly $9 million to another of Paquette's victims.


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