Priest Pleads Not Guilty to Molesting Boys
The Rev. Michael V. Lamountain Is Charged with Two Counts of First-Degree Sexual Assault, Six Counts of Second-Degree Sexual Assault and One Count of Child Molestation on Altar Boys
By Drake Witham
October 22, 1997
With two alleged victims looking on, a prominent but now suspended Roman Catholic priest yesterday pleaded not guilty to molesting altar boys in rectories from the 1970s to the 1990s.
Speaking firmly and wearing handcuffs, Father Michael V. LaMountain, 48, of 1560 Douglas Ave., North Providence, said "not guilty" to two charges of first-degree sexual assault, six counts of second-degree sexual assault and one count of child molestation.
Superior Court Judge Mark A. Pfeiffer released him on his promise to attend future court proceedings, and he left the courtroom without comment.
James McCormick, his lawyer, promised a vigorous defense. "There's a lot of investigating to do," he said.
The accused priest was formerly chaplain to the police and fire departments in West Warwick and had been an aggressive campaigner against a topless club near his church in West Warwick, where he was known as "Father Mike."
Father LaMountain, whose address previously was listed as 725 Black Hut Rd., Burrillville, where he owns property, could face life in prison if convicted of first-degree sexual assault.
"I will never forgive him," said Daniel J. Turenne, 21, of Warwick, a former parishioner at St. John the Baptist Church in West Warwick. "I'm living a very miserable life. He took away my childhood."
The alleged abuses of five boys, now aged 21 to 34, took place between June 1, 1979, and June 1, 1992, according to Gregg Perry, spokesman for Atty. Gen. Jeffrey B. Pine's office.
At the time of the alleged assaults, two of the boys were 14 or older, two were 13 or younger and one was abused before and after his 14th birthday.
Fourteen is the cutoff for child-molestation cases, Perry said.
The incidents allegedly took place between 1979 and 1992 at Father LaMountain's summer cottage near Spring Lake in Burrillville, and in the rectories of St. Kevin's Church in Warwick and St. John's.
No allegations were made involving St. Joseph's Church in Woonsocket, where Father LaMountain also served.
Allegations were first made against Father LaMountain, former pastor at St. John's and St. Kevin's, in 1995 by James Egan, 27, who grew up in Burrillville and now lives in Providence. Turenne joined Egan in a civil suit, still pending, against Father LaMountain later that year.
In March 1995, Father LaMountain was removed as the pastor of St. John's, where he had served since 1987, by the Most Rev. Louis E. Gelineau, then Roman Catholic bishop of Providence, who placed him on an indefinite leave of absence.
Turenne, an altar boy at St. John's and a student at the parish school, said Father LaMountain molested him in the rectory starting when Turenne was 13.
Egan, whose family lives across Spring Lake from Father LaMountain's cottage in Burrillville, said the priest gave him gifts, clothes and money, and even took him to England and Ireland. He said the clergyman sexually abused him between the ages of 14 and 22.
He said most of the incidents took place at Father LaMountain's cottage, where Turenne said he also was molested. "Painful memories" forced him to quit his job as a teacher in Coventry in 1994, he said.
"I couldn't take it anymore," Egan said. "I was working with students with emotional difficulties and couldn't provide therapy to them when I hadn't done it myself."
Egan also urged anyone who has been abused to speak out to curb what he called an epidemic of priests abusing children.
If convicted, Father LaMountain would be the sixth Catholic priest in Rhode Island to be found guilty of sexual offenses in the past decade.
The statewide grand jury handed up the indictments Monday. Father LaMountain turned himself in to state police in Scituate at about 1 p.m. yesterday.
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