Altar Boy Takes Stand in Priest Sex Abuse Trial

Burlington Free Press
October 1, 2009

UPDATE: The former altar boy who claims he was molested by then-Rev. Edward Paquette at Christ the King Church in Burlington in the late 1970s began testifying this morning.

A Roman Catholic nun told a Burlington jury Wednesday that she saw then-Rev. Edward Paquette briefly grab a boy in the genital area at a Catholic school in Montpelier in the mid-1970s.

Sister Mary Crosby recounts how she witnessed former priest Edward Paquette reach from behind and fondled a student's groin area at a catholic school where she formerly worked during the second day of a priest abuse trial against the Roman catholic diocese in Superior Court in Burlington on Wednesday, Sept. 30.
Photo by Ryan Mercer

"He was going up the stairs behind another young student, and he grabbed him in the crotch," Sister Mary Crosby told the jurors.

Crosby said she was in the hallway of the school when the incident occurred. She said no one else saw what happened and that she did not confront Paquette about it.

Her testimony came during the second day of the trial involving claims Paquette molested an altar boy at Christ the King Church in Burlington between 20 and 25 times in the late 1970s.

The former altar boy, now 44, is suing the diocese, alleging it knew Paquette was a repeat child molester before bringing him to Vermont and eventually assigning him to the Burlington church where the abuse took place.

The Burlington Free Press does not identify the alleged victims of sex abuse without their permission. Paquette, who is retired and lives in Westfield, Mass., is not a defendant in the case.

Crosby said she did not think she told anyone at the time about what she saw Paquette do, but noted he left his assignment in Montpelier for the one in Burlington shortly after the incident.

She later warned a family member who had a boy at Christ the King Church to make sure to keep the child away from Paquette, she told the jury.

The trial resumes today at 9 a.m.


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