The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
Judge rules against diocese; Sex abuse victims respond
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, national director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790 cell, 314 645 5915 home)
Vermont citizens should be grateful for this sound ruling which puts the actual safety of several innocent children above the alleged rights of one accused adult. No institution should be able to protect child predators and then dodge justice by exploiting legal technicalities, least of all an allegedly spiritual institution. It's pathetic that Vermont's bishop even tries to hide behind the statute of limitations. We're glad this judge won't let them.
The statute of limitations gives criminals and their employers incentive to destroy evidence, intimidate witnesses, threaten victims, and flee the country. It should be eliminated or extended. And until it is, the statute should not be used by supposedly caring organizations to hide the truth and escape accountability.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 17 years and have more than 8,000 members across the country. 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)
Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home), Peter Isely (414-429-7259) Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688), Mary Grant (626-419-2930), Mark Serrano (703-727-4940)
May 12, 2008
The plaintiff in the clergy abuse trial in Burlington filed his lawsuit in time to qualify for a potential damage award when the jury issues its verdict in the case, Judge Matthew Katz has ruled.
The ruling on the statute of limitations question came just after lawyers for the state’s Roman Catholic diocese rested their defense today after putting on their only witness. The testimony involved the videotaped deposition of a priest who recalled at one point how Bishop John Marshall showed his concern for families of children molested by priests.
The plaintiff, a Colorado man, alleges that as a boy he was molested by the Rev. Edward Paquette at Christ the King Church and is suing the diocese, claiming it is liable for financial damages because it hired Paquette and put him in a position to molest altar boys like himself. The trial began last week.
Paquette was the subject of similar molestation claims while serving as a priest in two other states and in Rutland prior to his assignment at the Burlington church.
The diocese has claimed it relied on the expertise of church psychologists who pronounced Paquette fit for priestly duties when it brought him to Vermont.
On Friday, the diocese suffered another setback when Katz ruled the plaintiff could pursue punitive damages from the diocese. Punitive damages usually involve larger money awards than provided in solely compensatory damage awards.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests