Catholic Pastor in Shelburne Falls Charged with Assaults on 2 Boys

By Jack Sullivan
Boston Globe
October 21, 1991

A Roman Catholic priest from Shelburne Falls is scheduled to be arraigned today in Greenfield District Court on sexual assault charges involving two young boys.

Rev. Richard Lavigne, 50, the pastor at St. Joseph's Church in Shelburne Falls, was arrested in Chicopee Friday afternoon by State Police and charged with two counts of rape of a minor. The boys' ages and hometowns were not available.

Father Lavigne was held in jail in Chicopee Friday night, then released on $ 10,000 bail Saturday. He was picked up by State Police after an arrest warrant had been issued by the district court.

Rev. Robert Thrasher answered the telephone at St. Joseph's yesterday and said Father Lavigne was "out of the area." He provided no details except to say, "I do expect him to be in Greenfield" today.

Father Thrasher, the pastor at Holy Name Church in Holyoke and the former pastor at St. Joseph, said he was asked to celebrate Mass there yesterday. He said he did not have any information about the charges against Father Lavigne or about what will happen at St. Joseph for the immediate future. Father Thrasher referred all other questions to a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Springfield, but the spokesman could not be reached for comment.

State Police at the Springfield barracks referred all calls to their investigative office, but attempts to reach somebody there were unsuccessful.

Father Lavigne has been a priest for more than 25 years and has served several parishes in western Massachusetts. He has been at St. Joseph for 12 years but it was unclear how long he has been pastor.


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