Grand Jury Indicts Priest in Molestation of Altar Boys
The Rev. Michael V. Lamountain Has Been Suspended since March 1995
By Thomas J. Morgan
October 21, 1997
The statewide grand jury yesterday indicted Roman Catholic priest Michael V. LaMountain on charges that he molested altar boys at his home in Burrillville amd in parishes in Warwick and West Warwick.
Father LaMountain, 48, chaplain to the West Warwick Police and Fire Departments and a campaigner against the erotic entertainment offered by a nightclub formerly across the street from St. John the Baptist Church in that town, where he served as pastor, will surrender today, spokesman Gregg Perry of Atty. Gen. Jeffrey B. Pine's office said.
The priest, who once gave blessings at the annual Town Meeting and other municipal functions in West Warwick, will be arraigned in Providence Superior Court.
Perry said the indictments involve Father LaMountain's conduct at St. John's and at St. Kevin's Church in Warwick. There are no allegations involving St. Joseph's Church in Woonsocket, where he once served, Perry said. The priest's last known address was 725 Black Hut Rd., Burrillville.
If convicted, the popular clergyman, known to parishioners in West Warwick as Father Mike, would be the sixth Catholic priest to be judged guilty of sexual offenses in the past decade. (The last convicted, Monsignor Louis Ward Dunn, is to be retried as the result of a controversial ruling in August by Judge Stephen J. Fortunato Jr. of Superior Court.)
The charges against Father LaMountain allege that the offenses, against five altar boys, took place between 1979 and 1993.
The Most Rev. Louis E. Gelineau, then Roman Catholic bishop of Providence, in March 1995 suspended LaMountain from his post as pastor of St. John the Baptist Church in West Warwick, where since 1987 he had delivered sermons that attracted people from other parishes.
As pastor, Father LaMountain attended meetings of the West Warwick Town Council to denounce the issuance of a liquor license to The Playhouse, an all-nude nightclub, and frequently was seen at local restaurants and at civic functions.
Bishop Gelineau's successor, Bishop Robert E. Mulvee, said yesterday in reaction, "With the whole diocese I share in the anguish suffered at such a moment. It is exceedingly difficult to fully grasp the indescribable pain of those who experience such terrible ordeals. I believe in a very real sense we are a family - God's family. When both those who come forward and the priest are members of that family, we are in a real sense left devastated."
Two men, James Egan and Dan Turenne, filed suits against the Diocese of Providence in December 1995, alleging that Father LaMountain molested them while they were boys.
Neither could be reached last night.
Egan said at a press conference announcing the suits that LaMountain molested him during a five-year period that began in 1983 or 1984 "in various locations in Rhode Island and on trips in and outside of the United States."
Turenne said that LaMountain first molested him while he was 13 and an altar boy at St. John's and a student at the parish school.
"I trusted Father Mike LaMountain because he was our priest and pastor, and he became my friend," Turenne said. "I was raised in a Catholic family and I was taught to trust and respect, confide in and follow after priests."
Egan said the emotional distress caused by Father LaMountain's alleged misconduct forced him to leave his job as a public school teacher.
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