Homosexuality and Alcohol Abuse Outlined in Rev. Cote Documents

By Carol Robidoux
Union Leader (Manchester NH)
March 5, 2003

Documents released yesterday detailing the Rev. Roland Cote's sexual encounters with a teen in the 1980s may prove that no state laws were violated by Cote in the course of the affair.

But it's also clear why Cote wanted to keep the information under wraps: It's personally incriminating and shows the culpability of fellow priests and church officials, all aware of Cote's penchant for homosexual affairs with teens and alcohol abuse, as far back as 1990.

Cote filed for a restraining order Monday to prevent the file from being released along with the 9,000-pages on priest sex abuse the state released Monday.

That request was denied yesterday by Judge Kathleen McGuire.

Cote's lawyers argued Monday that some of the information in his 150-page file would damage his reputation.

Cote, 58, resigned from his post at St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church in Jaffrey last November after admitting the affair with a teen.

He told parishioners he couldn't be specific about his future plans.

"I'm going to put myself back together again, like Humpty Dumpty," Cote was quoted as saying following his last mass in Jaffrey on Nov. 2.Among the documents released yesterday: an April 25, 2002 interview with the man with whom Cote admitted having a sexual relationship over several years in the 1980s.

According to the interview, Cote picked him up as he hitchhiked to Claremont and took him to a cottage in Newport, which Cote co-owned with the Rev. Robert E. Gorski and Monsignor Paul L. Bouchard.

According to the man's statement, Cote asked him if he was interested in doing yard work. He said he was. Then the two drank rum and Coke, went inside and Cote later performed oral sex on him.

Said the man to investigators: "I asked him if it was all right, you know, 'cause it's a bad thing for a priest to do that. He had a collar on and stuff. And we had a conversation that it, it wasn't a sin in God's eyes to do that . . . And so he did it and paid me 40 dollars. He said it was for the yard work."

In another excerpt from the April testimony, the man was asked by investigators if other people had seen him at the cottage with Cote. His response was "only the other priests."

Also included is a letter by Auxiliary Bishop Francis J. Christian from January 1990 in which he addresses allegations made by an unidentified parishioner concerned about Cote's drinking. She'd also heard Cote was homosexual.

Writes Christian: "She is concerned at his irrational behavior, allegedly because she has two children in the parish school at West Stewartstown."

Two months later, Christian discussed the accusations with Cote, and "urged him to be honest with himself" while suggesting the priest go for counseling.

Wrote Christian: "Father Cote said he recognizes that drinking to excess even on occasion could be a sign of a more serious problem, but he does not believe this is inevitable and he is not psychologically disposed to seeking any further counseling at this time . . . In regard to the alleged problem of homosexuality, Father Cote denied having any such problem at all," wrote Christian.

Christian wrote that he spoke secretly with Gorski about the allegations against Cote before concluding that no action or intervention was called for.

Toward the end of the man's April interview with investigators, he explains his motives in coming forward nearly two decades later:

"Part of getting me better, I gotta clean out my closet, that's what they tell my counselors, my sponsors have told me, you have to clean your closets out, all the dirty stuff and the dirty stuff includes this . . . who knows how many children he's hurt already and could end up like I ended up (laughter). That's devastatin' (sic) to think about, if you look at my track record. My past, yeah, it's a devastatin' (sic) thing."


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