NO END IN SIGHT FOR CATHOLIC ABUSE TROUBLES
The number of lawsuits accusing priests in Vermont's Roman Catholic Diocese of sexual abuse continues to grow, as do the church's financial worries. The church faced 16 lawsuits about alleged sex abuse, much of it dating back decade, when it reached a $985,000 settlement of one of the suits last April. Now it faces 26 civil cases and is following the case of a priest facing a current criminal charge. The Rev. Stephen J. Nichols, 47, is scheduled to go on trial in April in Saint Albans for felony lewd and lascivious conduct for allegedly fondling a naked 18 year old man in 2005.