MA-- Jury finds for Catholic abuse victim; Group responds
For immediate release: Thursday, April 14, 2016
A victim of a predatory Catholic teacher has won his civil trial. We applaud him for having the courage to report and expose crimes by Albert Vaillancourt of the Fall River Catholic diocese and those who ignored or hid those crimes.
We hope this verdict will encourage others who were sexually victimized in Catholic schools or by Catholic predators to step forward, expose wrongdoers, protect kids and deter cover ups.
We urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in Catholic churches or institutions to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling law enforcement, get justice by calling attorneys, and be comforted by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Here’s a news release from the victim’s attorney:
NEW BEDFORD JURY FINDS FALL RIVER TEACHER LIABLE IN CIVIL TRIAL FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT
A New Bedford Superior Court jury has rendered a civil verdict against Albert Vaillancourt, a long-time Fall River Catholic School teacher. The jury awarded $300,000 to the plaintiff, who sued under the name John Doe. A judgment in the amount of $560,352 was then entered by the Court.
The defendant filed post-trial motions, seeking to overturn the verdict, which were denied, on April 4, 2016, by Judge Robert Kane, the presiding judge at the trial. The defendant has now filed a Notice of Appeal.
The plaintiff testified that he was sexually assaulted in 1987, when he was 10 years old, by Vaillancourt, who was his sixth grade teacher at Notre Dame School, Fall River. The abuse occurred on two occasions in the classroom, during recess breaks, and on one occasion at Vaillancourt’s home, when John Doe was there to cut the grass.
A second person testified that during the same time period, when he was 10 years old, he was also sexually assaulted by Vaillancourt, at the Fall River CYO building, in a manner which was similar to the way in which John Doe was assaulted.
The plaintiff was able to prosecute his case because of a new, retroactive, MA statute of limitations law which allows a person sexually abused as a child to file suit at any time prior to his 53rd birthday, against the perpetrator. The MA Supreme Judicial Court declared the law constitutionally sound in December, 2015, and this is the first case tried under that law since the Court’s decision.
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.