Burlington Diocese settles abuse lawsuit

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(Host) The Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington said this week that it has reached a settlement in the last of several lawsuits filed in the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct by Vermont priests.

In the case settled this week, the Diocese agreed to pay the plaintiff $150,000. The amount is the largest paid out by the church for recent settlements. The church also had to acknowledge that it knowingly transferred the priest who had been accused of child sexual abuse.

Burlington lawyer Jerome O’Neill represented two plaintiffs in recent cases against the Diocese, including the case just settled. He says there will be more lawsuits in the coming months.

(O’Neill) “There are certainly other ones in the works. We have spoken with a number of people who have contacted us because they were abused by members of the clergy. We’re evaluating the cases. In many instances we insist that the people get themselves some counseling first so they can deal with these very difficult issues before we’re willing to go forward. We want them to be in a healthy state first.”

(Host) O’Neill says documents the church has provided in the lawsuits that have now been settled will help him in any future suits to evaluate how the church has handled allegations against specific priests.

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