A jury is now reviewing the evidence against Gary Mercure, the former Glens Falls-area priest accused of using his position and authority to target young children.
He served at the Our Lady of Annunciation church in Queensbury, but has since been dismissed by the Diocese of Albany.
One of the many painful wrinkles of this case is that the trial is being heard in Massachusetts (where a small portion of Mercure’s crimes allegedly occurred) because New York’s statute of limitations on child rape has already expired.
This from the Berkshire Eagle newspaper, via the Glens Falls Post Star.
The alleged victims are now in their 30s. As youngsters, however, they served as altar boys at Mercure’s church in Queensbury, N.Y., where, they say, the assaults began.
Defense attorney Michael O. Jennings has suggested the altar boys were prodded by a support group for victims of clergy abuse to go public, particularly since they couldn’t get justice in New York.
New York authorities determined the statute of limitations for criminally prosecuting Mercure had elapsed, and civil action against the priest also was no longer an option.
The Roman Catholic church in New York has campaigned aggressively against changes to state law that would extend the statute of limitations on this kind of crime.
But last week, jurors heard testimony from the parents of victims, and from other altar boys at the Queensbury church who accused Mercure of waging a campaign of sexual terror against children in the parish.
This from the Albany Times-Union.
One of them, a 38-year-old Queensbury man, said he remembered the first time Mercure allegedly molested him — Dec. 10, 1984.
”It was the day my grandmother died and my parents had him come and baby-sit us while they went to make arrangements,” the man said.
When asked by Assistant District Attorney Marianne Shelvey how many times over the years he was allegedly abused by Mercure, the witness said hundreds if not thousands of times at his home, in the rectory, in the church where the altar boys dress and in Mercure’s car.
After testifying, the man sat alone on a bench outside of the courtroom crying.