Former priest from Oakland, Wayne sentenced for sexual abuse of teenagers

Gary Berthiaume sentenced to prison time

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

FARMINGTON, Mich. – A former priest from Oakland and Wayne counties has been sentenced to prison for sexually abusing teenagers.

Gary Berthiaume, 79, was sent to trial in July on two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. He pleaded guilty to those counts in November but 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.”

Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Daniel P. O’Brien sentenced Berthiaume on Thursday morning (Jan. 20) to between 17 months and 15 years in prison on the criminal sexual conduct charges and five years on the gross indecency charge.

Berthiaume will also register as a tier II sex offender and undergo counseling, according to authorities.

“While we recognize no sentence can ever undo the harm inflicted on survivors of sexual abuse, it remains our priority to secure accountability for those who bravely share their stories,” Nessel said.

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Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.