April 06, 2005

Gagnon plea could lead to clean record

Milford Daily News

By Sara Withee / Daily News Staff
Wednesday, April 6, 2005

WORCESTER -- A Millville priest accused of sexually abusing a male parishioner admitted to lesser charges yesterday and will remain on administrative leave from his church.

The Rev. Jean-Paul Gagnon admitted to sufficient facts on two counts of assault and battery in Worcester District Court, according to Elizabeth Stammo, a spokeswoman for Worcester District Attorney John Conte.

Gagnon, on leave from St. Augustine Parish since October 2002, had been scheduled to stand trial yesterday in the court, which handles Uxbridge District Court's jury trials, on one count of indecent assault and battery on a person 14 or over and one count of assault and battery. The charges involved two victims.

Gagnon's case will be continued without a finding while he serves an 18-month probation, Stammo said. He must submit to alcohol and mental health evaluations and comply with any recommended treatment.

The charges will be dismissed altogether if he meets his probation requirements, said his attorney, Edward Ryan Jr. of Fitchburg.

"Father Gagnon never, ever committed an indecent assault and battery on any individual, let alone the individual involved in this case," Ryan said. "To that end, he's vindicated."

Posted by kshaw at April 6, 2005 03:08 AM