Thursday, April 20, 2006

Vermont Abuse Case Settled for $965,000

...against Fr. Edward Paquette. The whole article here.

How they will pay for it:

Diocese settles priest abuse case for $965,000
Church officials said in a statement later Wednesday the diocese would take out loans to pay the $965,000 to Gay. "No existing programs or charities will be affected and absolutely no Bishop's Fund monies will be used to satisfy this settlement," the statement said in part.

Once again:

"Nowhere, in any document, do you ever see Bishop Marshall express any concern for the boys," O'Neill said. "Every time, it's a concern for scandal, it's a concern for people not putting up with him ... In effect, what he was doing was providing Paquette with new victims." Marshall died in 1994.

Stuff and Nonsense:

Cleary conceded the diocese had failed to prevent the abuse Gay incurred but said it was relying on medical advice in a time when it was commonly believed that such sexually deviant behavior was curable.

The history:

According to the documents, Paquette allegedly began molesting boys at parishes in Mansfield and New Bedford, Mass., possibly as early as 1955. He was removed from the parishes in 1963 and, after undergoing psychiatric treatment in Boston, was transferred to the Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese in Indiana in 1964.

"I can hardly return him to active duty in this diocese," Bishop James Connolly of Fall River, Mass., wrote Bishop Leo Pursley of Indiana on Feb. 24, 1964. "However, it could quite be he has overcome his difficulty. I feel that you might help him, if you feel interested to try."

The Indiana diocese agreed to take Paquette, only to have him accused in 1971 of having molested boys at three Indiana parishes over six years. He was again ordered to undergo electric shock treatment.

In 1972, Paquette approached Marshall, hoping for an assignment in Vermont. When Marshall asked Pursley for his input, Pursley wrote back and suggested Paquette be placed in an "institutional chaplaincy" where there was "less likelihood of relapse."

Instead, Marshall assigned Paquette to the Christ the King Church in Rutland, on condition that he continue treatment under a psychiatrist. According to diocesan lawyer William O'Brien of Winooski, Marshall acted after receiving a letter from Hillenbrand recommending him for "any type of assignment ... including parish work."
Complaints continue

In 1974, the pastor in charge of the Rutland parish wrote Marshall to report he had received new complaints about Paquette.

"Father Paquette sexually molested two young men while on communion calls in the hospital," the Rev. James Engle wrote Marshall on Oct. 21, 1974.

"It is imperative that Father Paquette be removed from the Rutland area immediately ... I would also suggest that ... it should be done without fanfare or farewell parties and that it be publicly announced as sick leave."

After more treatment, Paquette was transferred to St. Augustine Church in Montpelier and, in 1976, to Christ the King Church in Burlington, which operates an accompanying elementary school. O'Neill alleged Paquette molested boys in Montpelier, but acknowledged there is no evidence Marshall was told about it.

By early 1978, the Burlington parish was fielding a steady stream of complaints from parents, alleging Paquette had molested their sons and describing other strange behavior by him.

"Several indicated they would not go near the church while Father Paquette was around," the Rev. John Fradet wrote in an April 20, 1978, memo to Marshall summarizing the situation. "Feelings were high. (Name deleted) felt we were treading on 'very thin ice' -- he was aware of six other parents."

The documents show that Marshall was torn about dismissing Paquette.

"Despite the demands of two sets of irate parents that 'something be done about this,' Father Paquette's pastor and I are determined to take the risk of leaving him in his present assignment," Marshall wrote to the head of a priest therapy retreat in Whitinsville, Mass., on April 4, 1978.

By April 17, Marshall had changed his mind. The next day, he wrote Paquette, saying he could no longer serve in any diocesan parish.

"The serious weakness that you have shown and your unwillingness or inability to cooperate with your counselor ... has forced this decision upon me," Marshall wrote

A priest who had a 23 year history of abuse. Number of victims- impossible to calculate- damage done also impossible to calculate. Financial cost- this is the tip of the iceberg.


pinkfem said...

Millions and millions of hard-earned parishioners dollars going for this cover-up!! And no responsibility or even "I'm sorry" from those who shuffled these pedophile priests to other parishes to take it up with a new set of victims.
Great article. I just wandered in, hope it's OK.

glenda said...

I wandered in too. But I agree with her. She's the Mother of God, she knows about these things.

M. Alexander said...

Welcome Pink fem and Glenda. It's nice to have you.