Joint trial ordered for 20 priest abuse cases - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Joint trial ordered for 20 priest abuse cases

Burlington, Vermont - April 21, 2010

In an unprecedented move, a Chittenden County judge has ordered a joint trial for 20 pending priest abuse cases.

Those cases are currently in mediation, but if that doesn't work Judge Helen Toor ordered them to be handled in a joint trial starting Sept. 20. The Burlington Free Press reports Toor also extended the mediation deadline to May 31.

The cases involve claims by former altar boys who say they were molested by the Rev. Edward Paquette in the 1970s. They're suing the Vermont Roman Catholic diocese for damages on grounds it hired Paquette knowing he was a child molester.

Juries have already awarded nearly $15 million in settlements to victims in prior cases against the diocese.

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