LaFerriere found guilty on harassment charges, is appealing

Berlin Daily Sun

By Debra Thornblad

Frank LaFerriere was found guilty of three counts of harassment against the head of the U.S. Catholic League in Berlin District Court last Friday, Nov. 22. He was sentenced to a minimum of six months in jail but was released on bail after telling Judge Paul Desjardins he will appeal the finding.

LaFerriere, 53, of Berlin, was arrested on the three counts of harassment earlier this year. The complaints allege that LaFerriere called the cell phone of William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, in New York City in January and February of this year leaving “abusive, annoying and threatening” messages.

Berlin Police Prosecutor Dan Buteau presented the state’s case at a hearing that started in October. Donohue testified he received between 100 and 150 calls from December 2011 to earlier this year. He said the calls had concerned him to the point that he had hired a bodyguard and reported them to the New York City police, who contacted Berlin police.

At the October hearing, LaFerriere’s attorney Jay Duguay focused his cross examination of Donohue on comments he made on various media and how these comments might affect the state of mind of a victim of priest abuse. In various forums Donohue had called the victims “liars, dropouts, thieves and gold diggers looking for a pay day.” Donohue did not deny the quotes, although he claimed the comments were directed at dishonest organizations that portrayed themselves as helping these victims, not the victims themselves. Donohue also admitted saying he believed a teenage boy 15-17 years old had the ability to fend off sexual attacks by a priest and if they didn’t do it, it must because the boys were homosexual and the sex consensual. LaFerriere testified he was 15 when a priest sexually abused him.

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