05/14/2010 // West Palm Beach, FL, USA // Tara Monks // Tara Monks
Montpelier, VT – A nearly $18 million settlement was reached after 26 former altar boys of Vermont’s Catholic church sued the church, claiming sexual abuse by priests over 30 years ago, as reported by MSNBC. Both parties in the settlement stated they were pleased with the outcome.
An arbitrator will divide the $17.65 million settlement between the 26 plaintiffs, and will divvy up the sums based on the nature of each person’s injuries, their recoveries and other factors. Plaintiffs expect to receive their payments by the end of June.
The lawsuits accused the Diocese of Burlington of negligent hiring, using the defrocked Rev. Edward Paquette as the prime example. Paquette was the target of abuse allegations before he transferred to Vermont in the 1970s. He worked in parishes in Montpelier and Rutland and in Christ the King Church in Burlington. He was accused of molesting dozens of altar boys.
The diocese did not dispute the allegations of molestation. Paquette recently told the Burlington Free Press he was sorry for his actions and prays for those he harmed.
Other than the recently agreed upon settlement, the church also recently settled with three separate cases that had already been decided in court, but were on appeal. The diocese said the settlements were lesser than the jury awards, but did not reveal the final amounts.
Bishop Salvatore Matano said in a statement posted on the church website that the church will sell its Burlington headquarters, which includes undeveloped waterfront property on Lake Champlain, and a lakeside summer camp on Malletts Bay in Colchester.