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Vermont diocese defends assignment of notorious priest-abuser Paquette

Catholic World News - September 30, 2009

The Diocese of Burlington, sued by a man abused by the recently defrocked Edward Paquette, has defended its decision to assign the priest to a parish in 1976, even though diocesan officials knew he had already committed abuse in three states. Diocesan attorney Thomas McCormick claimed that the diocese was following the advice of doctors. “When the head of the diocese learns that a priest has sexually molested children, he must do something to remove the priest from the parish and not supply the priest with new opportunities to use his position as priest to molest more children,” said the victim’s attorney. Bishop John Marshall, who was responsible for assigning Paquette, led the Diocese of Burlington from 1971 to 1991 and also led the apostolic visitation of American seminaries in the early 1980s -- a visitation now widely viewed as a whitewash that turned a blind eye to the problem of homosexual activity in many seminaries of the time. Bishop Marshall died in 1994.

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