“Why not accept him as he is?”

Yesterday, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced former Michigan priest Gary Berthiaume was charged with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy at the rectory of Our Lady of Sorrows in Farmington, Michigan in 1977. https://www.mlive.com/news/2020/09/former-michigan-priest-accused-of-sexually-assaulting-14-year-old-boy-in-1977.html. I well-remember this fuck’s name from the OCCK days.

Berthiaume was 35 in 1977 when he was charged with criminal sexual conduct involving a 14-year old boy. I found two undated news clippings about his arrest in the box of news articles my Mom had kept once her son had no further need for photo albums.

While these two old news articles mention only one victim, coverage of the most recent charges filed against Berthiaume mention that he assaulted two boys in Michigan in 1977.

The book Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, the Search for a Child Killer, by Tommy McIntyre (1988), mentions this priest (using the name “Stephen Bethleham”) and his questioning by the task force. (Chapter 33, p. 222-29.). The book describes the priest taking and passing a polygraph exam. It also describes the priest as having a law degree and having practiced in Nevada before he found his true calling.

The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing book discusses a widow who is the mother of a 12-year-old boy who asks “Bethleham” if anything “happened” at summer camp that he is aware of. (Chapter 26, p. 163-64). So this may be the younger of the priest’s two known victims at that time.

While the criminal sexual conduct felony Berthiaume was charged with was punishable with a maximum 15-year sentence, he ultimately pleaded guilty to “gross indecency between males.” and was sentenced to SIX MONTHS in jail and fined $1,000.

A simple Google search of this guy shows that after Berthiaume was released from jail (subject to 5 years of probation), he continued to prey on boys as he was moved from diocese to diocese and church officials hid his past from parishioners. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news3/2002_03_10_McCarty_DioceseConfronted_Allen_Bruening_2.htm. The Cleveland Plain Dealer ran an impressive series of articles called “The Cost of Abuse” starting in 2002 about the tactics of the Catholic Church used to protect pedophile priests and to intimidate and crush victims, whom they treated with not one ounce of compassion.

Berthiaume, as a convicted pedophile on probation, was moved to Cleveland where he was even the sex ed teacher at Ascension of Our Lord Catholic Church and grade school. Eventually Berthiaume faced multiple accusations of sexual abuse of boys in Cleveland and he was moved to the Joliet Diocese in Joliet, Illinois in 1987, where he served as chaplain for Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Il.

As a pathetic, but almost predictable aside, the bishop who “accepted” Berthiaume in Joliet was Bishop Joseph Imesch. Imesch had been the pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows when Berthiaume was a priest there in the 1970s, and during the time Berthiaume was being investigated by the OCCK task force. Father Imesch, in his capacity as Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit and representing Cardinal John F. Dearden, Archbishop of Detroit, WAS ONE OF THE CONCELEBRANTS AT TIM KING’S FUNERAL at Holy Name Church in Birmingham, MI.

In 2002 Berthiaume was relieved of his duties at Good Samaritan under mounting public pressure. Bishop Imesch, noting that the Catholic Church is one “of forgiveness,” had only told Berthiaume’s immediate supervisors about his past. “I don’t know that it’s necessary to tell people this is his past. Why not accept him as he is?” (From NewsNet5.com, ABC Cleveland report dated 5-3-02).

I knew this shitbag had ultimately been sent to a “retreat home” in Warrenville, Illinois, years ago. I looked him up and realized he was one suburb over from where I was living in Illinois at the time. I’m glad he is being extradited to Michigan.

Commenting on the charges against Berthiaume, AG Nessel said:

Criminal sexual conduct at any level must not be tolerated, and we must ensure justice is served to those who assault others–particularly those authority figures and people in powerful positions who prey on the weak and vulnerable.

Her office will have its hands full investigating sexual abuse within the seven Catholic dioceses across Michigan. It’s impressive that the AG is moving on these cases. Including Berthiaume, the investigation has resulted in criminal charges being filed against 11 individuals with ties to the Catholic Church.

18 responses to ““Why not accept him as he is?””

  1. I had no idea when I posted the article about this priest to your last post that HE WAS in fact interviewed by to OCCK task force back then. It’s nauseating to me how many men, then and now, are deeply ingrained in this horrifying underworld.

  2. How disturbing all of this must be, for you. I can’t begin to imagine…

    You may be aware, that one of the ways Catholic church hierarchy justified shuffling child-abusing clergy around, was by sending them for brief stays at pedophile “treatment centers”, some run by members of various Catholic orders. A popular therapy of that time was W.L. Marshall’s “masturbation satiation” therapy, which involved child sex offenders masturbating to commercial child sexual abuse images ‘products’ until they were “satiated”. I’m not joking.

    Claudius I. Vermilye, Jr – the Episcopalian Priest who ran the Tennessee boy’s farm child prostitution & pornography scam – claimed that the pornography of his boys was produced for this purpose, and that many of his ‘sponsors’ were really homosexual men that he was “curing” by providing satiation therapy materials for them.

    Meanwhile, over in the UK (where Chris Busch supposedly received “treatment”, yes?),
    a social worker and probation officer who previously trained for Baptist ministry, named Ray Wyre, began “treating” child sex crime offenders around the same time. He eventually founded his own treatment center, called Gracewell Clinic.
    “In ‘Men and Crime’, Issue 13, Summer 1992, Wyre admitted that a form of treatment used at the Gracewell Clinic, was that of ‘masturbation satiation’. A technique originally devised by W.L. Marshall, which makes use of deviant or illegal material as part of the therapy, and claimed by some to be effective in reducing re-offending”

    Ray Wyre’s close friend journalist Tim Tate wrote a book on child pornography. As research for this book, Tate personally viewed all of the commercial CP products distributed by CCC and COQ (Denmark-Netherlands). I’M IN ONE OF THOSE, as a young teen!

    This is the same Tim Tate who produced the “Franklin case” documentary “Conspiracy of Silence”, btw. Sometimes it seems there is no escape, no matter where you turn…

    • It’s bad, but it sounds like it is even worse for you, RD1. I will respond to your other comments today. Thank you for the information; as disturbing as all of this is, the reason abuse continues is that people look away because they can’t handle it and no one ever exposes the enablers or calls them to account. It does seem like there is no escape and that it all circles back on itself. Sometimes it’s hard to make the argument that light is going to win.

  3. I’m pretty damn sure this Berthiaume and Depp, the one I’ve told you about many times, KNOW WHAT HAPPENED.

  4. OMG. To have one of these effed up “men of Christ” officiate at Tim’s service, what could be more diabolical? This is movie script BS. The contents of my stomach are rising.

  5. There is a big difference between forgiving and enabling. Here is yet another example of the tactics used by the leaders of the Catholic Church, which egregiously endangered the most vulnerable. Our children.
    What could be going through their heads while they are passing on pedophiles to other schools and parishes?They are facilitating further abuse, the most sick and twisted perverted acts, and against children! WTF?
    I was so surprised to read about “Officer Friendly”. I shouldn’t be surprised to read about the links to the Catholic Church.

    • Yes, and Bloomfield Township/Village PD did the same thing with McNamee by sending him packing with a glowing recommendation. Protecting the predators.

  6. A reader made a good point–it’s probably hard for authorities or journalists to get their hands on a photo of a sex offender from back in the day, but it would be really helpful to see a photo from the relevant time period in addition to the current “old man” mug shot. How about a photo from 1976-1977 of Gary Berthiaume? Three metro Detroit area churches were implicated in the Fox Island discussions in Children of the Snow. Here’s a photo of Our Lady of Sorrows in Farmington: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Our_Lady_of_Sorrows_Catholic_Church,_23815_Power_Road,_Farmington_Hills,_Michigan_-_panoramio.jpg.

  7. OLS is in Farmington. The police chief in Farmington left for a job up north in late 77 or early 78. Coincidence? I remember this because when I wrote about the 1979 murder of Jane Snow, I was shocked to learn the chief was from Oakland County.

    Wonder why he split?

  8. The fact that SO MANY predators were protected SO MANY times, by SO MANY accessories to the crimes is truly a miscarriage of justice!!! All of the aforementioned should be put UNDER the jail, regardless of their current church standing, age and health status!!!!

  9. I have friends that are members of that parish. I’ve asked them to see what they can find from that time period.

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