Former Troy priest stands trial in Berkshire County | News
PIITSFIELD, Mass. - During opening statements Thursday, Gary Mercure's lawyer told the jury the testimony would be tough to hear.
"It may make you emotional," said Michael Jennings. "It may make you angry. It may make you think about your sons or your grandsons or your nephews."
Mercure was a priest at Our Lady of the Annunciation Church in Warren County.
Both alleged victims testified he would get them alone in the church dressing area or living space and fondle them, telling them to close their eyes and think of nothing.
How many times would you say the defendant touched you in your penis or your upper thigh?" questioned First Assistant District Attorney Paul Caccaviello.
"How many times?" responded the first witness.
"If you can give us a number."
"Way too many. Hundreds. A hundred times."
It is NewsChannel 13 policy not to identify alleged victims of sexual assault.
The first witness described a trip Mercure took him on to the Appalachian trail head near Great Barrington
"Did something happen in the car?"
"What happened in the car?"
"He proceeded to molest me."
A second claimed victim testified Mercure attacked him in the back seat of a car parked at a New Ashford ski area.
Investigators believe Mercure committed hundreds of sexual assaults against altar boys at his church in Warren County. However, New York's statute of limitations does not allow prosecution for acts committed so far in the past.
Mercure is being prosecuted in Massachusetts under a different statute for trips he is accused of taking with young boys to Berkshire County.