Vermont Catholic Diocese settles sex abuse lawsuit targeting South Burlington priest

Published: May. 17, 2022 at 4:43 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The Vermont Roman Catholic Diocese has settled a lawsuit involving a former South Burlington priest accused of sexually abusing a child in the 1960s. But advocates are demanding more accountability.

The victim, now in his 60s, accused Father Roger W. Carlin of molesting him in 1966 and 1967, when the nine-year-old was training to be an altar boy at St. John Vianney church in South Burlington.

The diocese last summer said it was the first allegation it had received concerning Carlin. It comes after an independent review board of laypeople combed through thousands of documents dating back to 1950 and identified 40 priests as being sexual abusers. Carlin, who died in 1980, was not one of them.

Mitchell Garabedian, the victim’s attorney, and Robert Hoaston, a former survivor of clergy sexual abuse and activist, are calling on Bishop Coyne to add Carlin to that list of sex abusers. They’re also calling on the diocese to release all of their files.

“Victims need to hear the names of pedophile priests so that they realize, so the victims realized that they were not the only ones being sexually abused. It was not the victims’ fault,” said Mitchell Garabedian, the victim’s attorney.

He says his client accepted the settlement because he felt validated.

In the settlement, the diocese says the agreement does not constitute an acceptance of liability or an agreement of the claims.

Church officials did not respond to a request for comment relating to what prompted the settlement, if there’s plans to publish Carlin’s name on the website, and why the diocese has not publicly released the files.

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