Gary Mercure, an Albany-area priest accused of raping two altar boys in the 1980s, at his 2011 sentencing in Berkshire County, Mass. Mercure was sentenced to up to 25 years in prison for raping altar boys. [Times Union]
Imagine two children, each sexually abused by different predators. Two childhoods twisted and scarred. Two lives with the odds stacked against them- the odds of being healthy, of being productive, of being able to form the interpersonal relationships that are the foundation of happiness. Imagine one of them getting to see their abuser arrested, and the other spending the rest of their life wondering how many other children their abuser has molested, and wishing they could have done more. And imagine that the only reason the one got to see justice was because their abuser took them out of state in order to molest them, to a state where their quest for justice wasn’t blocked by an arbitrary statute of limitations on when they can report their crime.
The most tragic thing about this example is that this isn’t the story of two kids. It’s the story of thousands, every year in NY. And most of them will be forever denied justice because of NY’s Statute of Limitations on this crime. It’s tempting to read this and think “thank you, Vermont, for allowing one more predator to be locked up”, but I read it and think “when will NY learn?”
Albany diocese ordered to turn over clergy abuse files
Albany diocese must surrender information, but judge seals it
By Brendan J. Lyons
Tina M. Weber, left, a Philadelphia attorney who represents two men who said they were raped as young boys by former priest Gary Mercure of Albany, testifies before an Assembly committee during a hearing on New York’s statute of limitations for child sex crimes. At right is Melanie Blow of Prevent Child Abuse NY. [Times Union]
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany has been ordered by a federal judge to turn over nearly 40 years worth of clergy abuse files to a Warren County man who is suing the diocese and a priest who raped him as a young boy.
It’s the first time the Albany diocese has been ordered by a court to fully disclose its confidential files on priests and other employees accused of sexual abuse. But the ruling by U.S. District Judge William K. Sessions III includes a sealing order that, for now, will keep the records from being made public. The sealing order was requested by the diocese and Gary J. Mercure, an imprisoned Albany priest who is accused of systematically raping and abusing altar boys for years.
The order requires the diocese to turn over its internal records on sexual abuse by priests and other employees dating to 1975.
“This is the first time the diocese has been ordered to turn over 38 years of records involving individuals — current and former clergy and employees, and even those who have made complaints of sexual abuse — who have absolutely nothing to do with the case at hand,” said Kenneth Goldfarb, a spokesman for the diocese. “The diocese sought a protective order because, surely, the privacy rights of these individuals warrant the same protection that the federal court already granted to Gary Mercure by issuing a protective order for his files.”
The decision was handed down in a lawsuit filed by a 37-year-old man who said he was raped by Mercure in New York, Massachusetts and Vermont beginning in the early 1980s when he was about 8 years old. The victim filed his lawsuit against the diocese and Mercure in Vermont because New York’s statute of limitations prevented any claim or criminal action here.
The victim’s identity is being withheld by the Times Union under a policy not to identify victims of rape or sexual abuse without their consent.