April 09, 2006

‘Settled’ is a state of mind

Telegram & Gazette

Dianne Williamson


For a private man who once aspired to the priesthood, Ed Gagne has endured more than his share of secular drama.

In the late 1980s, his life intersected with the notorious Austin R. MacLaughlin, a 300-pound poser who scammed friends and colleagues out of more than $450,000 before he was sent to prison. In 1994, a decade before it became acceptable to disclose claims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests, Mr. Gagne sued the diocese of Worcester and was awarded $300,000.

Most recently, Mr. Gagne received $130,000 after settling a lawsuit against the city of Worcester that claimed his boss didn’t pay him fairly, based partly in retaliation for the above-mentioned incidents. The city settled the case after a former employee at the Office of Employment and Training testified that Mr. Gagne’s Catholic boss, Stephen Willand, was angry that his subordinate sued the diocese and helped blow the whistle on Austin MacLaughlin.

Mr. Gagne is well aware that people may consider him litigious, or at least unlucky to have experienced so much personal turmoil. But the city’s Forrest Gump says his ordeals have only strengthened his resolve to speak out against injustice.

Posted by kshaw at April 9, 2006 07:24 AM