Diocese lawyer urges jurors to turn back clock in considering ex-altar boy’s claim

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Another priest sex abuse trial is under way for Vermont’s Roman Catholic Church.

A lawyer for the Diocese of Burlington told jurors yesterday that church officials may have made mistakes in hiring a pastor with a history of molestation allegations against him but that they weren’t reckless or malicious.

In the opening statements, Diocese attorney Thomas McCormick said the case involves events of decades ago and urged jurors to consider the benefits of hindsight – and modern knowledge about childhood sex abuse – as they hear and see the evidence.

The plaintiff in the case is a 41-year-old Waitsfield man who blames the Diocese for not protecting him from Rev. Edward Paquette.

His lawyer told the jury that the Diocese chose to protect priests from scandal – at the expense of children – and that Paquette was placed in parishes with schools in Rutland, Montpelier and then Burlington despite being warned to keep him away from children.

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