Clergy abuse conviction shows more needs to be down by church, lawyer

Boston Herald

Jan. 6, 2020

By Erin Tiernan

The sentencing last week of a still-ordained priest who admitted to abusing children while he served in Brighton shows church leaders have taken “no substantive action” to stop abuse, said sex abuse lawyer Mitchell Garabedian.

“Bishops have spoken. Cardinals have spoken. Cardinal (Sean) O’Malley has spoken. They’ve all said words but taken no substantive action. It’s time to take action,” Garabedian said Monday.

The Rev. James R. Gillette pleaded guilty to two counts of unnatural acts with a child under the age of 16 in Suffolk Superior Court on Jan. 2 in a plea deal with prosecutors. The charges stemmed from abuse that occurred between 1972-1975.

Judge Beverly J. Cannone sentenced him to five years of probation with GPS monitoring, ordered him to register as a sex offender and complete a sex offender treatment program.

Standing beside Garabedian at a press conference on Monday was Anthony Sgherza, who said he was an altar boy at a New Jersey church from age 10 to 13 when Gillette abused him in the early 1970s.

Gillette transferred to St. Gabriel’s in Brighton in 1975 where he tricked Sgherza into visiting to attend a Boston Red Sox game and again abused the boy, Garabedian said.

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