Release of Priest's Records Ordered

By Kathleen A. Shaw
Telegram & Gazette [Worcester MA]
Downloaded June 13, 2003

WORCESTER- Worcester Superior Court Judge Jeffrey A. Locke has ordered that at least a portion of the psychological records of the Rev. Jean-Paul Gagnon be opened to the man who is suing him for alleged sexual abuse when the man was a teenager.

An assessment done at the now-defunct House of Affirmation in Whitinsville will be turned over to Timothy P. Staney of Worcester and his lawyer, Daniel J. Shea of Houston.

Judge Locke ruled last week that Rev. Gagnon forfeited his right to privacy when he signed a release authorizing that the assessment be given to the Worcester Catholic Diocese and placed in his personnel file. The judge ruled Mr. Staney can have material that is relevant to his case, but is not entitled to the whole report.

Mr. Staney alleges in his lawsuit that he was sexually abused by Rev. Gagnon from 1984 to 1987, beginning when he was 14 years old at Holy Name of Jesus parish. Rev. Gagnon is now on personal leave from his pastorate at St. Augustine parish, Millville.

Edward P. Ryan Jr. of Fitchburg, lawyer for Rev. Gagnon, said that Rev. Gagnon maintains he is innocent of all the charges brought in the suit and that the events described by Mr. Staney never occurred.

The assessment has several references to Rev. Gagnon's psychosexual development that are relevant to the suit because they were noted in 1981, "four years before the sexual activities began as alleged in the complaint and resulted in a recommendation for further counseling," the judge said. The record also contained no indication that such counseling occurred between 1981 and 1984.


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