Vermont Sex Abuse Trial Ends in Hung Jury

In the wake of May’s $8.7 million verdict against the Diocese of Burlington, another trial involving the Diocese of Burlington as well as the same priest-Rev. Edward Paquette, ended in a hung jury. The hung jury came after jurors deliberated for 16 hours. The victim’s attorney protested the closing remarks of the church lawyer when he stated, “one lawsuit ought to be enough to teach a lesson.” The remark came after the judge in the trial warned lawyers not to make mention or reference to the May trial.
In the end, the church’s argument was typical. They argued that the victim had waited too long to bring his claim and didn’t seem that injured. This in spite of the fact that they never disputed his claims of molestation at the hands of Paquette who had a long history of sexual abuse.
Anyone who knows anything about the terrible tragedy of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests will find the church’s arguments typical but offensive. Minor victims of sexual abuse rarely if ever come forward to tell anyone about the abuse. They remain too traumatized, confused, hurt, and confused to deal with it. The fact that the abuse occurred at the hands of a priest makes the abuse even more difficult to deal with. The other argument employed by the church that he didn’t seem that injured is insensitive to the harm done and horrifically unpastoral. When it comes to abuse and protecting the reputation of the institutional church, the church in Burlington side with protecting an institution rather than care for the soul of one of its members. Church officials often talk about what Jesus would do. I wonder what Jesus would do in this instance?