Former Priest Admits Sexually Assaulting Five Boys
As Part of an Agreement with the Victims, Now Ages 22 to 36, Michael V. Lamountain, a Former Priest at St. John the Baptist and St. Kevin Parishes, Will Serve No Jail Time
By Drake Witham
January 30, 1999
After apologizing to his victims, his family and the Church in Superior Court yesterday, a prominent former Roman Catholic priest admitted to sexually assaulting five boys from the 1970s to the 1990s.
A stoic Father Michael V. LaMountain, 49, of 1560 Douglas Ave., North Providence, entered guilty pleas on six counts of first-degree sexual assault, one count of second-degree sexual assault and one count of second-degree child molestation.
After hearing from two of LaMountain's victims, who asked LaMountain to "get help," Judge Dominic Cresto accepted a plea agreement and sentenced LaMountain to nine 12-year suspended sentences, to run concurrently.
LaMountain will not be jailed as long as he does not violate his probation, registers as a sex offender, undergoes sex-offender counseling and issues a written apology to the two victims who were not in the courthouse yesterday.
"I applaud the courage of the victims for coming forward and achieving a resolution that was satisfactory to them," said Atty. Gen. Sheldon Whitehouse.
The plea agreement was reached once LaMountain agreed to admit his guilt to all nine counts, including six that had been dismissed by Judge Mark A. Pfeiffer in December 1997, due to the statute of limitations.
"This has washed away at least part of the pain effected by denial," said Timothy J. Conlon, lawyer for three of the victims. "They felt pain from the denial" and the aspersions against their credibility, he said.
James McCormick, LaMountain's lawyer, said his client was "obviously relieved" to have the case over.
Known as "Father Mike" in West Warwick, LaMountain 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.
The assaults on the five boys, now ages 22 to 36, took place in the rectories of St. Kevin Church in Warwick and St. John the Baptist in West Warwick, and at a lake cottage owned by LaMountain in Burrillville between June 1, 1979, and June 1, 1992.
At the time of the 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.
Allegations were first made against LaMountain, former pastor at St. John's and St. Kevin's, in 1995 by James Egan, 28, who grew up in Burrillville and now lives in Providence.
In March 1995, LaMountain was removed as the pastor of St. John's, where he had served since 1987, by the Most Rev. Louis E. Gelineau, then bishop of the Diocese of Providence, who placed him on an indefinite leave of absence.
Daniel J. Turenne, 22, of West Warwick, joined Egan in a civil suit against LaMountain and the Diocese of Providence later that year.
The civil suit against the diocese involves more than 30 alleged abuses by Catholic priests in Rhode Island, according to Conlon, and is still pending.
LaMountain is the sixth Catholic priest in Rhode Island to be found guilty of - or to admit guilt concerning - sexual offenses during the past decade.
LaMountain was indicted on the nine counts in October 1997 and was scheduled to face trial soon.
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