We are glad these brave victims will be spared the stress of a trial. And we are grateful to those who were courageous enough to step forward and wise enough to seek justice in court. We hope this settlement will help bring them sorely-needed closure and healing.
At the same time, however, no single event can magically erase decades of pain. So we strongly urge these victims to continue in therapy, twelve step programs and support groups. Long after the checks are cut and the public forgets about these cases, these deeply wounded victims will likely still need help coping with the often life-altering impact of horrific childhood betrayal.
At the same time, we are disappointed in the Vermont Catholic hierarchy. Why can’t they help suffering victims promptly and without the pressure of an impending trial?
And how long have they known of but kept secret about credible child sex abuse allegations against Fr. Dussault (who, we believe, has never been publicly accused before). Whatever became of the repeated promises by Catholic bishops to be ‘open and transparent’ about child sex cases?
Every settlement like this is a mixed bag. On one hand, a resolution like this helps victims move forward. At the same time, however, it prevents the complicity of Catholic officials from being publicly exposed in court.
We hope that anyone who saw, suspected or suffered crimes by Fr. Paquette, Fr. Willis and Fr. Dussault will step forward, get help, call police, expose wrongdoing and start healing. And we hope that Vermont citizens and Catholics will see that Catholic officials continue to be secretive about clergy sex crimes and responsive to victims largely only when facing external pressure to do so.
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