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  Former Pastor's Case Continued
Drug, Alcohol Evaluations Ordered

By Steven H. Foskett Jr
Telegram & Gazette
April 6, 2005

The Rev. Jean-Paul Gagnon, former pastor of St. Augustine parish in Millville, admitted to sufficient facts for a guilty finding in court yesterday on assault charges.

In Worcester District Court yesterday, Judge Sarkis Teshoian continued the case without a finding for 18 months and ordered Rev. Gagnon to undergo drug, alcohol and mental health evaluations with treatment and counseling as recommended by the Probation Department, according to court records.

Rev. Gagnon, 49, was initially charged with indecent assault and battery and assault and battery after an adult male who was active at St. Augustine parish alleged he was assaulted by the priest in Sutton in 2002. The alleged victim has not been named.

Judge Teshoian yesterday amended the charge from indecent assault and battery on a person over 14 to assault and battery, according to court records.

Rev. Gagnon's lawyer, Fitchburg-based Edward P. Ryan Jr., said yesterday that Rev. Gagnon has maintained his innocence on the assault charges, and noted that there was no guilty plea involved in the decision.

Rev. Gagnon was placed on administrative leave by the Diocese of Worcester after he was charged, and he cannot serve as a priest.

A brief statement released by the Diocese of Worcester stated that "we hope and pray that this resolution to the charges which were brought against him will begin to bring a sense of healing for the victims."

Rev. Gagnon took personal leave in October 2002 after Timothy P. Staney of Worcester, and his parents, Corrine and Joseph Staney of Spencer, filed a civil suit against him.

That suit, which was settled last year, alleged that Rev. Gagnon sexually abused Timothy Staney while he was serving at Holy Name of Jesus parish in Worcester. Rev. Gagnon denied the allegations.

 
 

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