R.I. Man Sues, Cites Sex Abuse by Priest

Providence Journal-Bulletin (Rhode Island)
December 18, 2002

* Norman LaPolice, of Jamestown, says he was assaulted while he was a high school student in Springfield, Mass.

GREENFIELD, Mass. (AP) - A former Berkshire County commissioner who says he was molested by his boyhood parish priest sued the cleric and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield yesterday.

Paul Babeu, 33, who now lives in Queen Creek, Ariz., says he was molested between the ages of 13 and 15 by the Rev. Richard Lavigne while Babeu was a parishioner at St. Joseph's in Shelburne Falls.

Lavigne pleaded guilty in 1992 to fondling two altar boys and served 10 years probation.

A Rhode Island man also sued the diocese yesterday, claiming a priest molested him while he was a student at a parochial high school in Springfield nearly 40 years ago.

Fourteen men have filed suit this year charging the diocese in sexual-abuse cases. Eleven of those cases, including one filed by Babeu's older brother, Francis, also name Lavigne as a defendant.

"The only reason why I'm suing them is because they refused to hear me," Babeu said at a news conference called by his attorney, John Stobierski, of Greenfield. "They denied me justice. This isn't about money. This is about justice."

Stobierski also filed suit against the diocese on behalf of Norman LaPolice, 52, of Jamestown. LaPolice says he was molested as a student at Cathedral High School in 1964 by the Rev. Karl Huller, who is deceased.

Mike Graziano, the diocese's communications director, yesterday would not comment on the suits


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.