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  Would-Be Priest Removed after Alleged Relationship

By Kathleen A. Shaw
Telegram & Gazette
February 27, 2003

Bishop Daniel P. Reilly removed a preseminarian from consideration for priesthood after the bishop was told of a series of homosexual encounters that occurred with the Rev. Jean-Paul Gagnon in the rectory of St. Augustine Parish in Millville.

Rev. Gagnon was not removed from the parish and still has not been officially removed from the parish in Millville after a civil suit was filed alleging that he molested Timothy P. Staney of Worcester when Mr. Staney was a child.

The Catholic Diocese of Worcester later paid for six months of psychiatric hospitalization for Chad Boisvert after he suffered from what he said was severe depression associated with the sexual encounters and his subsequent removal from the preseminary program.

Mr. Boisvert, who now lives in the Boston area, said he was a 24-year-old virgin when the diocese approved his request to stay for a short term at the rectory in Millville.

Mr. Boisvert is not a party to the Staney suit but was subpoenaed to testify at a deposition regarding that suit.

Under questioning by Daniel J. Shea of Houston, lawyer for Mr. Staney, Mr. Boisvert said he was never told about any past allegations involving Rev. Gagnon.

He testified that Rev. Gagnon initiated the first sexual contact and educated him about gay sex by showing him two films. Mr. Boisvert also said the encounters with Rev. Gagnon were consensual.

Testimony in another deposition indicates that Bishop Reilly would have had knowledge of prior allegations of sexual misconduct by Rev. Gagnon.

The Rev. Steven Labaire, now associate pastor of St. Luke's in Westboro, said that he reported the alleged sexual abuse of Mr. Staney to the diocese in the late 1980s and Rev. Gagnon was allowed to continue serving as a priest of the diocese.

Mr. Boisvert testified that after his first encounter with Rev. Gagnon, he began to have emotional problems and ended up suffering from what he called severe "situational depression."

After he was dropped from the program by Bishop Reilly, his condition worsened and he was sent first to St. Vincent Hospital, Worcester, where he stayed two weeks, and then to Wild Acre Inn in the Boston area, where he stayed from March through September 1999. The diocese later agreed to pay the bill for his stay. Mr. Boisvert said he did not consider this to be an act of kindness because it did not agree until after he said "I'm going to treatment for Father Gagnon."

Mr. Boisvert said his mental condition has stabilized and he is an administrative assistant for a financial investment company in Braintree.

He said he told two other preseminarians who lived at the Father Fitton House, operated by the diocese in Leicester, of his sexual contacts with Rev. Gagnon. He said the two, Troy Finn and Sean Curtis, advised him against it because he was a priest. "They said it was a bad idea," he said.

Bishop Reilly and Monsignor Thomas J. Sullivan, who was vocations director at the time, were told of the homosexual activity between Mr. Boisvert and Rev. Gagnon three days before Christmas in 1998. The bishop expressed "disappointment" in the general situation, he said.

He said Bishop Reilly told him, "Fitton House is not the place for you."

Mr. Boisvert said Rev. Gagnon told him he had previous relationships with men although he never mentioned any abuse of Mr. Staney. He was also told that when Rev. Gagnon was in preseminary he was told "they didn't want him to move on to be ordained a priest." He identified "they" as officials at St. John's Seminary.

Mr. Boisvert recalled riding in a car with Rev. Gagnon "and he was telling me about streets in Worcester that he went on that he probably shouldn't visit, but he did, which I only later understood that to mean that he was going to pick up men for sex."

Mr. Ryan asked Mr. Boisvert a series of questions, including whether he had ever told parishioners that the bishop appeared to be drunk during a confirmation ceremony. He denied ever saying it. "And you specifically deny asking any comments about the bishop being drunk at the confirmation?" Mr. Ryan asked. "Yes," Mr. Boisvert replied.

He also denied that his room at the rectory was a "pigsty," although he said it was messy or that he had been out drinking at night and had come back to the rectory drunk.

 
 

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