Rev. Gary J. Mercure—Assignments and Sources of Information

Contents of this page: Summary, Photos of Mercure, Detailed Chronology of Assignments and Allegations, Summary of Assignments, Sources of Information, Notes

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
Incardinated: Diocese of Albany; sabbatical in Rome in Fall 2000

Start Stop Parish Town/Allegation State Position Notes
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


• On 1/28/08, Michael Flynn and another man alleged that Mercure abused them here (see articles 1 2).

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 2); 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).
• On 1/28/08, two other men alleged that Mercure had abused them here in the late 1980s and early 1990s, beginning when they were 8 years old; one said that Mercure also raped him in South Carolina while vacationing with the boy's family (see articles 1 2). The mother of these boys informed the diocese in person in 2000 of the alleged abuse (see article).
• On 10/30/08, the Berkshire County DA announced that Mercure had been indicted on charges of taking two altar boys from this parish to Massachusetts and raping them there in 1986 and 1989 (see articles 1 2 3); Mercure pleaded not guilty at arraignment on 11/18/08 (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.
1991 1995 St. Mary's

Glens Falls

• 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 Catholic School
Glens Falls NY

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.
1996 1997 St. Mary's

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.
1997 1/19/08 Sacred Heart
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.

1999 1/19/08 St. William's
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   Paid leave        
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 Superior Court
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:

Pastors' Retirement Means Parish Changes, by Paul Quirini, The Evangelist, September 9, 1999
Rome Diary, by Bishop Howard J. Hubbard, The Evangelist, October 24, 2000
Pilgrims Deepen Faith at Mass in St. Peter's, by Kate Blain, The Evangelist, November 2, 2000
Patron Saints: Parishes Live Up to Names, by Karen Dietlein, The Evangelist, November 7, 2002
Parishioners Express Outrage over Priest's Anti-War Sermon, by Alan Wechsle, Times Union, March 27, 2003
Military Chaplains and Activists: Priests Striving to Reconcile Church Teaching and Patriotism, by Kate Blain, The Evangelist, April 3, 2003
Concern over Eucharist: Priests Seek Celibacy Dialogue, by Kate Blain, The Evangelist, November 27, 2003
The Report on the Independent Investigation, commissioned by Bishop Howard J. Hubbard, conducted by Mary Jo White et al., June 24, 2004
Troy: Priest, Nun Are Pioneer Leaders, by Kate Blain, The Evangelist, September 9, 2004
Rome Shop: Troy Priest Encountered Pope-to-Be, by Kate Blain, The Evangelist, March 28, 2005
Tri-County Effort: Catholics (A)rise to Social Justice Issues, by Karen Dietlein Osborne, The Evangelist, November 3, 2005
Priest on Leave during Inquiry: Allegations Are Made of Sexual Misconduct, by Irene Jay Liu, Times Union, January 20, 2008
Accusations Leave Troy Congregation in Shock: Allegations of Sexual Misconduct, Discussed in Church, Have Parishioners at Sacred Heart at a Loss, by Scott Waldman, Times-Union, January 21, 2008
Abuse Claimed: Priest Placed on Leave after Allegation Made, The Evangelist, January 24, 2008
Four Accuse Local Priest of Abuse, by Don Lehman, Post-Star, January 29, 2008
More Claim Abuse by Troy Priest, by Scott Waldman, Times Union, January 29, 2008
Father Mercure Target of More Sexual Abuse Allegations, North Country Gazette, January 29, 2008
SNAP Protest Outside Another Area Church against Diocese, WTEN-TV, February 3, 2008
Abuse Group Protests at Local Church, by Nick Reisman, Post Star, February 10, 2008
Lawsuit: John Watkins v. Fr. Gary Mercure, Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, and Bishop Howard J. Hubbard, May 23, 2008
Lawsuit Filed against Suspended Priest, by Bill Lambdin, WNYT, May 23, 2008
Man Sues Priest, Diocese: Attorney Seeks $2m for Client Who Claims Minister Exploited Him, by Thomas Dimopoulos, Post-Star, May 24, 2008
Letter to the Editor: Why Do Catholics Continue to Support Poor Leadership in Albany? by James Quackenbush, Daily Gazette, July 10, 2008
Roman Catholic Priest Removed from Ministry Amid Sex Allegations, by Jill Bryce, Daily Gazette, August 15, 2008
Albany Diocese Priest Defrocked, by Jimmy Vielkind, Albany Times Union, August 15, 2008
Local Priest Removed from Ministry, Troy Record, August 16, 2008
Removal: Priest barred from Ministry, by Christopher D. Ringwald, The Evangelist, August 21, 2008
Priest Charged with Raping Boys, WNYT, October 30, 2008
Troy Man Indicted in 1986, 1989 Child Sex Assault Cases, CBS 6, October 30, 2008
Troy Priest Indicted on Rape Charges Involving Young Boys, by Jill Bryce, Schenectady Gazette, October 30, 2008
Former Glens Falls Area Priest Charged after Investigation into Child Sexual Abuse Allegations, by Don Lehman, Glens Falls Post-Star, October 30, 2008
Priest Faces Rape Charges, by Conor Berry, Berkshire Eagle, October 31, 2008
Charges Filed against Defrocked Troy priest, by Jimmy Vielkind, Times-Union, November 1, 2008
Priest Denies Sex Assaults in Two Cases, by Conor Berry, Berkshire Eagle, November 19, 2008
Former Priest's Sex Abuse Trial Postponed until September, by Don Lehman, Post-Star, July 14, 2010
Rape Trial against Former Local Priest Postponed Again, Post-Star, November 15, 2010
Gary Mercure’s Molestation Trial to Begin Jan. 31, by Dave Canfield, Troy Record, January 14, 2011
Trial Date Set for Troy Priest Charged with Sexual Assault in Pittsfield, WNYT, January 14, 2011
Rape Trial of Former Queensbury Priest Set to Start, by Don Lehman, Post-Star, January 20, 2011
Accused Priest to Face Trial, by Conor Berry, Berkshire Eagle, January 28, 2011
Jury Selection in the Case of Priest Assaulting Two Boys, by Amy Cutler, WTEN, January 31, 2011
Storm Delays Start of Ex-priest's Trial, by Bob Gardinier, Albany Times Union, January 31, 2011
Priest's Alleged Crimes Troubling, by Conor Berry, Berkshire Eagle, January 31, 2011
Jury Selection under Way in Priest's Trial, by Conor Berry, Berkshire Eagle, January 31, 2011
Jury Selection under Way in Priest's Trial (updated version), by Conor Berry, Berkshire Eagle, February 1, 2011
Former Troy Priest Stands Trial in Berkshire County, WNYT, February 3, 2011
Opening Arguments in Mercure Trial, Fox 23, February 3, 2011
Boys, Now Men, Testify in Priest's Trial, by Conor Berry, Berkshire Eagle, February 3, 2011
Alleged Victims Take the Stand in Mercure Trial, by Walt McClure, Fox 23 News, February 3, 2011
2 Say Priest's Abuse Started Early: Former Altar Boys Testify They Were Raped during 1980s Trips, by Bob Gardinier, Times-Union, February 4, 2011
Mother Tells of Hidden Shock, by Bob Gardinier, Times Union, February 4, 2011
Victims Testify against Former Priest, by Conor Berry, Post-Star, February 4, 2011
Victims Detail Alleged Abuse by Priest, by Marci Natale, CBS 6, February 4, 2011
Mercure Trial Continues, WTEN, February 4, 2011
Emotions Run High in Day 2 of Mercure Trial, by Walt McClure, Fox 23, February 4, 2011
Emotional Testimony Continues in Mercure Trial, WNYT, February 4, 2011
Ex-Altar Boys Testify Against Former Priest, by Conor Berry, Berkshire Eagle, February 5, 2011
Surprise Witness in Mercure Testimony, by Amy Cutler, News 10, February 7, 2011
Testimony Nearing End in Rape Trial of Former Priest, by Walt McClure, Fox 23, February 7, 2011
Warren County DA testifies in Priest Sexual Abuse Trial, by Marci Natale, CBS 6, February 7, 2011
A Trial in Massachusetts Touches Home, by Irv Dean, Daily Gazette, February 7, 2011
Rape Trial Nears End: Warren County DA Weighs In on Trial of Ex-Priest Accused of Raping Boys, by Bob Gardinier, Times Union, February 8, 2011
Priest Trial Winds Down, by Conor Berry, Berkshire Eagle, February 8, 2011
Juror Dismissed in Mercure Trial, Berkshire Eagle, February 9, 2011
Rape Trial of Ex-Priest Now before Jury, by Bob Gardinier, Albany Times Union, February 9, 2011
Jurors Continue Deliberations in Mercure Trial, WNYT, February 9, 2011
Juror Dismissed in Mercure Trial, Post-Star, February 9, 2011
Juror Dismissed, Closing Arguments Begin in Gary Mercure Trail, by Walt McClure, Fox 23, February 9, 2011
Rape Trial of Ex-Priest Now before Jury, by Bob Gardinier, Times Union, February 9, 2011
Mass. Trial of NY Priest Coming to a Close, Wall Street Journal, February 9, 2011
Jury Convicts Priest of Raping Children, by Bob Gardinier, Times Union, February 10, 2011
Diocese Admits It Received Complaint, by Bob Gardinier, Times Union, February 15, 2011

Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Mercure's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with allegations of sexual abuse as reported in the media, represented in diocesan statements, and alleged in a civil suit and criminal indictments. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on 2/8/16.