Clergyman Ordered to Undergo Evaluation

By Glenn Yode
Boston Globe [Chelsea MA]
April 6, 2005

A North Shore Catholic priest accused of propositioning a 12-year-old girl and her mother at a Chelsea restaurant in January must be evaluated for substance abuse and mental health problems and undergo sexual offender assessment to determine whether he needs treatment, a judge has ruled.

The Rev. Jerome Gillespie, 55, also must not contact anyone under 18, unless he explains the case and disposition to both the child and their guardian, Judge Sarah B. Singer ruled Monday in Chelsea District Court, where the case was continued without a finding.

If Gillespie violates the conditions, he can be tried again, said David Procopio, a spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney.

Gillespie allegedly approached the girl and her mother at Floramo's in Chelsea on Jan. 25 and offered to pay them for oral sex. He agreed to a two-year continuance, after which the charges will be dropped, Procopio said.

"We're satisfied with this disposition because it serves three purposes," Procopio said. "One, it holds him accountable for his actions. Two, it satisfies the victims who are in accordance with this disposition, and three, it will determine whether the defendant has any issues that require medical help or counseling."

At his Feb. 17 arraignment, Gillespie pleaded not guilty to enticement of a child under age 16, soliciting sex for a fee, annoying or accosting a person of the opposite sex, and assault. Most of the charges were dismissed Monday. On the annoying or accosting charge, Gillespie agreed to sufficient facts, which is not an admittance of guilt, Procopio said.

Gillespie resigned from his position at St. John the Evangelist in Swampscott on Jan. 28. His defense counsel, Timothy O'Neill, told the Globe after charges were filed that Gillespie had been drinking at the time of the incident.

A spokesman for the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston could not be reached for comment.


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