Vt. bishop writes letter on abuse verdict

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Vermont’s top Roman Catholic clergyman has written to parishioners around the state, apologizing to the victim in a priest sex abuse case but saying the church will appeal last week’s $8.7 million verdict against the Diocese of Burlington.

Bishop Salvatore Matano wrote his letter Friday, the same day a judge put a lien of more than $10 million on property including the diocesan headquarters overlooking Lake Champlain in Burlington.

Matano expressed concern about the ability to continue programs in their current form.

The letter and the lien came three days after a Chittenden County Superior Court jury ordered the diocese to pay a now 40-year-old Burlington native $950,000 in compensatory damages and $7.75 million in punitive damages for between 40 and 100 instances of sexual fondling by former priest Edward Paquette in the 1970s.

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