Rev. Gary J. Mercure—Assignments
and Sources of Information
Summary of Cases: Mercure was placed on paid leave (announced on 1/19/08), after the Albany diocese received on 1/11/08 an allegation that Mercure had sexually abused a boy at Our Lady of the Annunciation in Queensbury NY in the mid-1980s. On 1/28/08, four other men came forward, two more from the Queensbury parish, and two from St. Teresa of Avila parish in Albany who alleged abuse in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Then on 5/23/08, John Watkins filed suit alleging that as a vulnerable adult, he had come to Mercure for counseling help regarding earlier sexual abuse, and had been abused by Mercure in turn. Watkins also alleged that Mercure discussed with him the priest's sexual interest in children, and gave him pornographic photographs. Watkins claimed that he apprised the diocese of all this in 1994 and 2000. On 8/15/08, the diocese announced that Mercure had been removed from ministry for the first Queensbury allegation because there "were reasonable grounds to believe he sexually abused a minor ... Subsequently, other people made similar allegations." Mercure has not been laicized or defrocked, which are the technical and popular terms respectively for being "reduced to the lay state" by the Vatican. He is still a priest but is not in ministry.
On 10/30/08, the Berkshire County DA confirmed that Mercure had been indicted on charges of taking two altar boys from New York to Massachusetts and raping them there in 1986 and 1989. Prosecution in Massachusetts was possible because while Mercure was out of state in New York, the statute of limitations in Massachusetts did not run. It is not clear whether these alleged victims are new allegations, or are two of the three men who have already come forward about abuse allegedly done while Mercure was working in Queensbury. Victims' advocates put the number of known accusers of Mercure at 13. After three adjournments, the jury selection for Mercure's trial in Berkshire County Superior Court, before Judge John A. Agostini, began on 1/31/11. The jury found Mercure guilty on all counts on 2/10/11. Mercure was sentence on 2/16/11, after the court heard impact statements by the two survivors and the parents of one survivor. The priest was sentenced to not fewer than 20 years in prison and not more than 25 years, to be served at Cedar Junction in the state prison system. (See below for articles about the trial.)
After the trial, it was reported that the mother of two alleged victims went in person to the chancery in 2000 and told an official of the diocese that Mercure had abused her sons in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The diocese, which had formerly stated that the first complaint was received in 2008, confirmed that they had received a complaint in 2000.
In addition to his seven parish assignments, Mercure was campus minister at Adirondack Community College for at least 17 years (1982-1999), and was on a diocesan personnel committee concerned with Ongoing Formation and Continuing Education for Priests (2005-2008). When he was promoted to pastor at two Troy churches on the retirement of the previous pastors, Mercure was also given a three-month sabbatical to the North American College in Rome in Fall 2000.
Mercure's 2000 promotion in Troy was a restoration of the pastor status he lost in 1995, when he was demoted from pastor and principal at St. Mary's in Glens Falls and was transferred to a junior position at St. Mary's in Clinton Heights. This demotion in 1995 presumably resulted from the allegations made by John Watkins. As part of the transfer from Glens Falls to Clinton Heights, the Vice Chancellor of the Albany diocese, Rev. Martin Fisher, was moved into St. Mary's in Glens Falls as pastor, presumably to do damage control.
At two of Mercure's assignments, another priest now accused of child
abuse was living in the same rectory: Rev. David G. Bentley at St. Teresa's
in Albany (1978-1982), and Rev. Mark Haight at St. Mary's in Glens Falls
(1991-1995), where Mercure was also head of the regional school. He'd
graduated from St. Mary's in 1966.
|1974||1978||Our Lady of the Assumption
||Latham||NY||2/2. Priests were Rev. John J. Hardiman and Mercure.||Diocese of Albany.|
|1978||1982||St. Teresa of Avila
|NY||2/4. Priests were Msgr. James G. Hart and Mercure, with (in res.) David Bentley and Francis O'Connor (chaplain at Albany Medical Center)||Diocese of Albany. Parish school had 225 pupils.|
|1978||1982||Albany Medical Center
||Albany||NY||2/4, but O'Connor is specifically listed as hospital chaplain.||Diocese of Albany. Mission of St. Teresa's.|
|1982||1991||Our Lady of the Annunciation
• On 1/11/08, the diocese received an allegation that Mercure had
abused a boy here in the mid-1980s; Mercure's paid leave pending an investigation
was announced at Sacred Heart in Troy on 1/19/08 (see articles 1
the diocese announced on 8/15/08 that Mercure had been removed from ministry
on "reasonable grounds to believe he sexually abused a minor"
(see article 1).
|NY||2/2. Priests were John F. French and Mercure.||Diocese of Albany.|
|1982||1999||Adirondack Community College
||Glens Falls||NY||Campus minister.||Diocese of Albany. After the 1999 Directory, no one is listed in this position.|
• On 5/23/08, John Watkins filed a lawsuit alleging that, as a vulnerable adult, when he went to Mercure for help about sexual abuse that Watkins had suffered as a child, Mercure abused him in turn while at this parish, and discussed the priest's sexual interest in children; Watkins says he apprised the diocese of these claims in 1994 and 2000 (see article 1).
|NY||1/3. Priests were Revs. Mercure and Joseph O'Brien, with Deacon Paul Gallipeo and (in res.) Rev. Mark Haight, who is also listed as chaplain of the Glens Falls Hospital. Pastoral Associate was Sr. Patricia Kelley RGS; Sr. L. Lorraine Brooks RSM and Mrs. Annmarie Tromblee were responsible for CCD. In 1993, Gallipeo was replaced by Deacon Frank Herlihy, and Josephine Kaczmarek took over CCD. O'Brien left in 1994.||
Diocese of Albany.
|1991||1995||St. Mary-St. Alphonsus Regional
Principals were Mercure and Rev. Bernard A. Amyot. In the 1993 Directory, Amyot has been replaced by Sr. Jeannette Lavoie SASV. In the 1994 and 1995 Directory, only Mercure is listed.
In the 1996 Directory, after the Watkins allegation, Mercure has been replaced by Rev. Martin Fisher, who was moved from his Vice Chancellor post to become the fixer at St. Mary's parish (where he was made pastor) and at St. Mary-St. Alphonsus school.
Diocese of Albany. This diocesan high school had 195 students in 1991-92.
Mercure himself graduated from this school in 1966.
|1995||1996||Whereabouts uncertain||After the Watkins allegation, there is a gap in Mercure's parish assignments. Thirteen years later, after other accusations against Mercure emerged, Watkins filed a lawsuit alleging that the diocese had defamed him in describing Mercure's actions.||It's not clear where Mercure was living. In the 1996 Directory, Mercure's index entry states that he is both "unassigned" and also still at Adirondack Community College; in the diocesan pages, he remains listed at the college, but no longer at St. Mary's parish or the parish school.|
||Clinton Heights||NY||2/2. Priests were Revs. J. Joseph Delaney and (in res.) Mercure.||Diocese of Albany. The parish school had 249 students, and the superior was Sr. Patricia Lynch.|
||Troy||NY||2/2, 2/3, 2/2; 1/2, 1/3, 1/2, 1/3. Priests were Revs. James Vaughan and Mercure. In 1999, Rev. Joseph Keyrouze, who had been pastor at St. William's (see below), retired and moved to Sacred Heart, where the 2000 Directory lists him as in residence. Keyrouze left in 2000, and Vaughan became pastor emeritus, with Mercure listed as pastor in the 2001 Directory. Also in 2000, Rev. Elie Kairouz arrived in residence, and then left in 2002. In 2007, Rev. Augustine Tufail arrived, and Sr. Rita Duggan CSJ became administrator, continuing in that role for St. William's.||
Diocese of Albany. The parish school had 312 students, and Susan Holland was principal.
At this parish, Mercure was involved in social services, including activities with children (see article 1).
In 2000, the year that Mercure was made pastor at Sacred Heart and St. William's, the diocese received a complaint from the mother of two boys who alleged abuse by Mercure at Our Lady of the Annunciation in Queensbury.
||Troy||NY||1/1. Mercure was pastor, with Sr. Rita Duggan CSJ listed as administrator. For Mercure and Duggan, see article 1.||Diocese of Albany. No longer a mission of Sacred Heart; listed as a separate parish.|
|Fall 2000||North American College
||Rome||Italy||Student. Mercure promoted to pastor of Sacred Heart and St. William's in 2000. In Fall 2000, he was sent on sabbatical to Rome, presumably before he took up his duties as a pastor.||While in Rome, Mercure had dinner on 10/24/00 with Bishop Hubbard and other Albany priests. He also had a chance meeting with Cardinal Ratzinger, then prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.|
|2005||1/19/08||Ongoing Formation and Continuing
Education for Priests
||Albany||NY||Member. Chairman was Rev. Christopher DeGiovine. Members were Revs. Paul D. Butler, James E. Clark, Mark Cunningham, James Fitzmaurice, Dominic Ingemie, Anthony Kall OFM Conv, Thomas Krupa, Ronald Menty (Administrative Advocate for Priests - Advisory), Mercure, Peter Russo, and James Schiffer. In 2006, Revs. Thomas J. Hayes and Dennis Murphy were added and Krupa left.|
|1/19/08||2010||Whereabouts not stated||Mercure is not indexed in the 2009 and 2010 Directories.|
|8/15/08||Removed from ministry|
|10/30/08||Indictment in Massachusetts announced|
|11/18/08||Pleads not guilty at arraignment|
|1/31/11||Jury selection begins in Berkshire
|2/10/11||Mercure was convicted on all counts|
Summary of Assignments
1974-1978 Our Lady of the Assumption church, Latham NY
1978-1982 St. Teresa of Avila church, Albany NY
1978-1982 Albany Medical Center, Albany NY
1982-1991 Our Lady of the Annunciation church, Queensbury NY
1982-1999 Adirondack Community College, Glens Falls NY, campus minister
1991-1995 St. Mary's church, Glens Falls NY, pastor
1991-1995 St. Mary-St. Alphonsus Regional Catholic School, Glens Falls NY
1995-1996 Whereabouts uncertain
1996-1997 St. Mary's church, Clinton Heights NY
1997-2008 Sacred Heart church, Troy NY, pastor 2000-2008
1999-2008 St. William's church, Troy NY, pastor 2000-2008
2000 North American College, student
Source: Official Catholic
Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1975-2010); see also: