Worcester Telegram & Gazette
It’s bad enough that the Catholic Church discriminates against gay people. But it’s poor form — and possibly illegal — to document the bigotry and then mistakenly email it to the victims.
This embarrassing etiquette lapse occurred as James Fairbanks and Alain Beret were pursuing the purchase of Oakhurst, a 44-bedroom mansion in Northbridge, owned by the Diocese of Worcester. Fairbanks and Beret had searched for two years for the perfect renovation project, and hoped to turn the run-down estate into a banquet facility. Previously, the pair had transformed mansions in Vermont and Barre into similar businesses.
“When we saw Oakhurst, we fell in love with it,” Beret said.
The asking price of $1.4 million was negotiated to $1 million. On May 18, the pair signed an offer to purchase with a $75,000 deposit. They paid $3,000 for a home inspection. They also met with various town boards, all of which expressed enthusiasm for the project because it would save the historic building from developers seeking to raze it. …
Speaking of reprehensible, Oakhurst is perhaps best known as the former House of Affirmation, a treatment home for pedophile priests, which closed amid scandal in the late 1980s. Ironically, Beret was willing to overlook that history; he’s a devout Christian who at one time studied for the priesthood.
“I have plenty of sins,” Beret said. “But being gay isn’t one of them. This is not a fight I wanted to pick. But for the sake of my dignity, I’m not walking away.”
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