In a sealed
motion filed Thursday in Chittenden Superior Court, diocesan attorney
David Cleary said Joseph's decision to lift a gag order regarding
church documents after the April 19 settlement had resulted in
extensive media coverage.
"It is now
absolutely impossible for the diocese to receive a fair trial in these
matters because of the pre-trial publicity surrounding these events,"
reads the court motion, which was approved by Bishop Salvatore Matano.
Joseph wrote in
a brief ruling later that day that the diocese's request to keep the
motion secret was groundless. He declined comment on the request.
Joseph issued a
series of pre-trial rulings that expanded the scope of testimony by
allowing evidence of abuses by other priests to be considered, Cleary
The recent case
involved claims that the diocese knew Fr. Ed Paquette had molested boys
when it assigned him to Christ the King Church in Burlington in 1976.
The lawsuit was brought by Michael Gay, a former altar boy. The case
was settled for $965,000.
The next trial,
tentatively scheduled to begin July 1, involves claims that Fr. George
Paulin molested an altar boy in the mid-1970s during his term at St.
Mary of the Sea Church in Newport.
Diocese of Burlington, Vermont, wants Judge Ben Joseph removed as the
presiding judge in an upcoming sex-abuse case. Diocesan officials say
Joseph’s rulings in a recent case jeopardize the diocese’s chances of
getting a fair trial, reported the Burlington Free Press on May 5.