Convicted Ex-Priest Sentenced to 25 Years
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Gary Mercure, 62, was sentenced on Wednesday afternoon in Berkshire Superior Court to up to 25 years in prison for sexual assaults against two boys two decades ago.
Mercure, a former priest in Troy, N.Y., was found guilty Feb. 10 of three counts of rape of a child with force and a a single count of indecent assault and battery on a child under age 14.
The charges relate to assualts on two men, who are now ages 35 and 34, that occurred in Berkshire County. A Berkshire Superior Court jury deliberated for two hours before returning guilty verdicts.
Judge John A. Agostini ordered Mercure to serve concurrent 20-to-25-year sentences on the rape charges at the Massachusetts Correctional Facility at Cedar Junction. He was given a concurrent 3-to-5-year prison sentence on the assault and battery conviction.
By: Staff Reports On: 03:34PM / Thursday, February 10, 2011
Former New York Priest Guilty of Abuse
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A former Catholic priest was found guilty on Thursday morning in Berkshire Superior Court of sexual assault charges dating back more than 20 years.
The jury deliberated for two hours over two days before returning its verdict against Gary Mercure, 62, of Troy, N.Y.
Mercure was found guilty on two counts of rape of a child with force and one count of indecent assault and battery on a child under age 14 in connection with an incident involving a man who is now 35 years of age. The incidents occurred in Great Barrington or Monterey between Sept. 1, 1986, and Dec. 31, 1986.
He also waso found guilty of one count of rape of a child with force in connection with an incident involving a man who is now 34 years of age.
That incident occurred in New Ashford between Feb. 1, 1989, and Feb. 28, 1989.
The victims said the abuse began with they were altar boys in Mercure's church in Queensbury, N.Y. Both said they were taken to the Berkshires and assualted; one at a parking area off the Appalachian Trail and the other in the parking lot of the former Brodie Mountain Ski Area.
Mercure was suspended from his church in 2008 and later defrocked after allegations arose of abuse of altar boys in the 1980s. Two men came forward claiming the abuse had occurred on trips to Massachusetts and Vermont as well as in New York. The statute of limitations had lapsed in New York State for both criminal and civil suits, leading prosecutors to reach out to their Massachusetts counterparts.
Mercure's attorney, Michael O. Jennings, argued physical evidence and scientific evidence was lacking and that the allegations of assaults in the Berkshires were fabricated to allow proceedings in Massachusetts.
Jurors, however, believed Berkshire First Assistant District Attorney Paul J. Caccaviello's description of a sexual predator who knew no state boundaries.
Judge John Agostini ordered that Mercure be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction without bail pending sentencing which will occur on Wednesday, Feb. 16, at 2 p.m.
The investigation was conducted by state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office.
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Dalton Man Shot by Officer
DALTON, Mass. — A Washington Mountain Road man has been hospitalized after being shot by a police officer early Wednesday morning.
According to the district attorney's office, Michael Barry, 46, who threated to kill himself and others, was shot by Pittsfield Police Officer Christopher Colello at about 1 a.m. Wednesday after he fled into the woods and seemed to draw a weapon. He is currently listed in critical condition at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield.
A press release from the district attorney's office states the incident occurred after Dalton Police responded to Barry's home shortly after midnight after receiving a call that a drunken man was pouring gasoline over the garage. When Officer Deanna Strout arrived on the scene she encountered Barry, who ignored her request to display his hands and ran into the woods at the rear of the residence.
Additional officers from Dalton and the Pittsfield Police Department, including a K-9 Unit, were dispatched to assist in the search for him.
Witnesses at the residence reportedly told police that Barry had been at a Dalton bar late Tuesday night and, after arriving home intoxicated, began smashing and throwing items and saying he wanted to die. He poured gasoline on himself and in the garage and threatened to start a fire and kill himself and others, witnesses told police.
Barry was located in the woods shortly after 1 a.m. by Colello and Pittsfield K-9 Officer James Losaw. According to the officers, Barry jumped up and made a movement that caused the officers to fear he was drawing a weapon. Colello shot several times, wounding Barry. He was treated at the scene by police and emergency personnel and then taken to Berkshire Medical Center, where he underwent surgery.
Barry is in police custody as he recovers from his wounds, under arrest for various offenses, including attempted arson, attempted murder and assault.
State police investigators assigned to the district attorney's office are conducting an investigation into the circumstances of Barry's shooting with the assistance of state police ballistics and Crime Scene Services unit.
Updated, Nov. 5, 2010, at 3:30 p.m.
Barry was arraigned this morning in Central Berkshire District Court in Pittsfield before Judge Frederic Rutberg.
He had not-guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of attempted murder, attempted arson, aggravated assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and vandalizing property, and two counts of assault by means of a dangerous weapon.
Rutberg ordered that he be held without the right to bail. Barry's case was continued to Nov. 10 for further arraignment and status.
The investigation is being conducted by members of the Dalton and Pittsfield police departments and state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office.
Barry's attorney, Leonard H. Cohen, told The Eagle on Thursday that Barry had been shot three times and was seriously injured. He described the 46-year-old Dalton man's condition as now being on the "upside."
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Pittsfield Man Guilty of Assault
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A Pittsfield man was found guilty Thursday afternoon in Berkshire Superior Court on several charges. The jury deliberated for about 15 hours over a three-day period before returning its verdict against 24-year-old Johnny B. Jones of Francis Avenue.
Jones, also known as John B. Jones, was found guilty on two counts of armed assault with intent to rob, two counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapons, two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and two counts of assault by means of a dangerous weapon.
Judge John Agostini ordered that he be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction without bail pending sentencing on Tuesday, Nov. 24, at 9 a.m.
The incident occurred in the Pittsfield State Forest on May 18, 2007. The victims are two men who are now 22 and 23 years of age.
Jones was found not guilty on two counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and one count of assault with intent to murder.
The investigation was conducted by state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office, which provided this information.
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