October 20, 2020
By: Jonathan Shead
Farmington – A former Farmington priest has been charged with one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, a charge that carries a possible 15-year prison sentence, by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.
Nessel brought charges against Gary Berthiaume, 78, who is charged with sexually assaulting a minor in 1977 at the rectory of Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church, 23815 Power Road, while he was a priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit. The victim reported being 14 years old at the time the alleged sexual actions took place.
The presumptive charges came forward as part of Nessel’s continued investigation into sexual abuse within the seven Catholic dioceses across Michigan.
Berthiaume was arrested at his home in Warrendale, Illinois, Sept. 29, and faces extradition to Farmington, where charges were authorized. Oakland County court records indicate attorney James Lawson, of Illinois, will represent Berthiaume. Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper will serve as the plaintiff.
Lawson could not be reached for comment by press time.
These charges are not the first Berthiaume has faced. The priest was arrested in 1977 for sexual assault on two other minors in Michigan.
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