Former Michigan priest accused of sexually assaulting 14-year-old boy in 1977
LANSING – A former Michigan priest has been charged with sexually assaulting a minor, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said Tuesday.
Gary Berthiaume, 78, formerly of Farmington, is charged with one count of second degree criminal sexual conduct, a 15-year felony. He was arrested today at his home in Warrendale, Ill., And is due to be extradited to Michigan, where charges were authorized last week.
The victim, who was 14 at the time, said the assault took place in August 1977 at Our Lady of Sorrows parsonage in Farmington, where Berthiaume was a priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit.
Berthiaume was arrested in 1977 for sexual assault on two other minors in Michigan. After serving a jail term in the Oakland County Jail, he was transferred to the Diocese of Cleveland, Ohio. He was transferred again in 1987 to the Diocese of Joliet in Illinois.
“My office’s investigation into clergy abuse will continue to receive, investigate and act on credible allegations of abuse on behalf of the many victims who have come forward,” Nessel said in a statement.
“Criminal sexual behavior at any level must not be tolerated, and we must ensure that justice is served to those who assault others, especially authority figures and those in positions of power who prey on the weak and the vulnerable. “
Berthiaume’s arrest comes as Nessel’s office continues to investigate sexual abuse in the state’s seven Catholic dioceses.
Over 1.5 million paper documents and 3.5 million electronic documents were seized thanks to search warrants executed in October 2018. Including Berthiaume, the Attorney General’s investigation resulted in criminal charges against 11 people with links to the Catholic Church.