April 06, 2005

Priest makes deal on assault charges

Woonsocket Call

Call Staff 04/06/2005

WORCESTER -- A former Millville priest charged with two counts of assault and battery will spend the next 18 months on supervised probation and is barred from performing any priestly duties.

As part of a plea agreement with prosecutors, the Rev. Jean Paul Gagnon stood before a judge in Worcester Superior Court Tuesday and admitted to sufficient facts to warrant a finding of guilty, according to a spokeswoman for the Worcester County district attorney’s office.

Gagnon, a Roman Catholic priest, was pastor of Millville’s St. Augustine Church for seven years. The charges stemmed from incidents that occurred during that time. The victim was an adult when the alleged assaults occurred.

The case was continued without a finding. Gagnon was sentenced to 18 months of supervised probation. During that time he is required to submit to alcohol abuse and mental health evaluations, and comply with any recommended treatment.

Just hours after Gagnon’s court appearance, Bishop Robert J. McManus of the Worcester Diocese released a statement later that day announcing that Gagnon "is on administrative leave and cannot exercise any priestly ministry in this diocese or anywhere."

Posted by kshaw at April 6, 2005 08:27 AM