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Convicted Ex-Priest Sentenced to 25 Years

Staff Reports

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.

Tags: assault, sex abuse      

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