Church appeals $8.7 million verdict in priest case

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The Diocese of Burlington is asking Vermont’s highest court to throw out an $8.7 million verdict awarded to a former altar boy who says his molestation at the hands of a parish priest was partly the church’s fault.

The Vermont Supreme Court heard arguments on the appeal Wednesday, with Diocese lawyer Kaveh Shahi telling the justices the trial was unfair and that jurors were given improper instructions before ordering the church to pay punitive damages.

Last May, a jury in Burlington awarded the money to the 40-year-old Lakewood, Colo., man in a negligent supervision suit against the church.

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