Priest Accused of Proposition

By David Abel
Bostonn Globe
January 28, 2005

A 55-year-old Swampscott priest was being sought yesterday for allegedly asking a 12-year-old girl and her mother to perform a sex act, authorities said.

The Rev. Jerome Gillespie, a Roman Catholic priest assigned to St. John the Evangelist Church, is wanted on charges of child enticement, annoying and accosting a person of the opposite sex, and offering money for sex, said David Procopio, a spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney's office.

Gillespie, a priest in the Archdiocese of Boston since 1982, did not return messages left last night at his church's rectory. An archdiocesan spokeswoman said church officials learned about the allegations last night.

"We're aware the police in Chelsea are investigating an incident involving Father Gillespie," said Ann Carter. "The archdiocese is in the process of obtaining additional information about the investigation, and until that takes place, we cannot comment any further."

Gillespie allegedly propositioned the girl and her mother Tuesday night at Floramos Fifth Ave. Restaurant Lounge, an Italian eatery in Chelsea, said Procopio. He would not reveal what the priest is accused of saying.

Gillespie, who dined at a separate table, apparently was not wearing vestments or anything that identified him as a priest, Procopio said. The girl and her mother did not know he was a priest until Chelsea police identified him, he said.


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