Former priest from Oakland, Wayne counties pleads guilty to sexual abuse of teenagers

Gary Berthiaume pleads guilty to two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct

A courtroom. (Brennan Linsley, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

FARMINGTON, Mich. – A former priest has pleaded guilty to sexually abusing teenagers during the timeframe in which he was working at churches in Wyandotte and Farmington, officials said.

Gary Berthiaume, 79, was sent to trial in July on two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. He pleaded guilty to those counts Monday and pleaded no contest to a third charge of gross indecency, according to authorities. He was also charged in two new cases in June.

The charges stem from allegations of abuse in the 1970s, while Berthiaume was a priest at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Wyandotte and later Our Lady of Sorrows in Farmington, officials said.

The cases involve three different victims between the ages of 13 and 15 years old, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said.

“This plea secures long-awaited justice for those who bravely came forward with their stories,” Nessel said. “My clergy abuse investigation team continues to work tirelessly to reach similar outcomes in our additional cases.”

Each count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct is a 15-year felony.

Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 20.


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