Former Glens Falls Area Priest Charged after Investigation into Child Sexual Abuse Allegations

By Don Lehman
Glens Falls Post-Star
October 30, 2008

A former Catholic priest from the Glens Falls area has been indicted on charges he raped two boys in the Pittsfield, Mass., area more than 20 years ago.

Gary Mercure, who was removed from the ministry earlier this year by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany amid allegations of child sexual abuse, is accused of taking boys he met through his church duties to Massachusetts and having sexual contact with them there in 1986 and 1989.

He faces two charges of rape of a child by force and one count of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, all felonies, authorities said.

Mercure, 60, of Troy was acquainted with the boys, who were ages 11 and 13 at the times they were victimized, through his work as an associate pastor at Our Lady of Annunciation Church in Queensbury, officials said. One of the incidents was said to have occurred at a ski area in Berkshire County.

The Berkshire County District Attorney's Office revealed indictments in the case Thursday after calls about the case from The Post-Star and its newspartner, NewsChannel 13.

Frederick Lantz, a spokesman for the district attorney's office, said the charges were the result of an investigation by the Massachusetts State Police. He said he could not comment further on the case.

But Massachusetts authorities began investigating the matter earlier this year after Warren County District Attorney Kate Hogan received information of alleged sexual assaults there by Mercure.

"Based on the information I gathered, I contacted the Berkshire County authorities because they have better statute limitation laws than we do," Hogan said Thursday. "Because he (Mercure) was not in their jurisdiction (after the assaults), the statute didn't toll."

Mercure is free pending arraignment Nov. 18 in Berkshire Superior Court.

Mercure was a pastor at Our Lady of the Annunciation for about 12 years in the 1980s and 1990s, and St. Mary's Church in Glens Falls afterward until he resigned from St. Mary's in 1995, citing health reasons. He later resumed the ministry at churches in Troy, until the diocese suspended him in January amid an investigation into child sexual abuse allegations.

The diocese removed him from the ministry in August.

Mercure is also due in state Supreme Court in Warren County tomorrow to answer a lawsuit by a man who accused him of improper sexual conduct, said John Aretakis, a lawyer who represents the plaintiff in the case.


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