More Abuse Allegations Surface

October 28, 2008

By: Chatham Daily News

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Men claiming to be sexual abuse victims of a priest who served in Grande Pointe 50 years ago will appeal for information about the man at a news conference Monday.

The men all served as altar boys at St. Philippe's parish. Rob Talach, a lawyer with London firm Ledroit Beckett, said five lawsuits are being filed concerning alleged sexual misconduct by Father Lawrence Paquette.

The former priest with the Roman Catholic Diocese of London died in 1986. He's buried in Tilbury. Talach said very little is known about the man. "We don't know anything about him . . . we know when he was ordained and when he died," the lawyer said. "We are looking for the public's help."

Talach said as far as he can tell, Paquette worked at St. Philippe's parish in Grande Pointe around 1955 to 1963. Wayne Thibert, who was allegedly abused by Paquette while serving as an altar boy at St. Gregory Parish in St. Clair Beach near Windsor, filed the first lawsuit in January.

"As a result of that, all these other victims came forward," Talach said. Mark Adkinson, the diocese's director of communications, wasn't aware of the upcoming news conference or the additional lawsuits being filed. However, he's familiar with the original lawsuit filed by Thibert. "At that time, we weren't aware of any other allegations," he said.

Adkinson said that case would have been extensively investigated -- officials would have looked at parish records, personnel files and contacted people Paquette worked with. He wasn't able to contact anyone involved with the case to find out the status of the matter late Friday afternoon.

Adkinson said the diocese also wants to hear from anyone with information about Paquette. "Any person who is a victim of any priest or employee of the diocese, we would like to know," he said. "Anyone with information should come forward."

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