“Father” Gary Berthiaume was charged with sexual misconduct with a 14-year-old boy in September 1977. The assault happened at Camp Ozanam, a St. Vincent DePaul Society camp overlooking Lake Huron in Port Sanilac.
I found this article while searching for Detroit area coverage of then prosecutor Brooks Patterson’s statements to the press about how Fr. Berthiaume had been cleared by polygraph in the OCCK crimes. Surely a Detroit area paper covered what had been reported in Lansing about Berthiaume’s “good grades” on his polygraph.
A September 20, 1977 article from the Detroit Free Press exclaims: 2d Sex Charge Filed Against Priest; HE’S CLEARED IN CHILD MURDERS.
The Free Press article notes that “Mark Stebbins, a 12-year-old Ferndale youth who was kidnapped and murdered in February 1976, attended that camp a few years before his death.” Yes. You read that right.
Here’s a little history on this glorious summer camp experience:
Berthiaume may not have any connections to the OCCK crimes, but he may very well have knowledge of the kind of stuff detailed in the “pedophile flow chart,” involving a lot of players in Michigan. He may just be one of the many “garden variety” pedophile priests from the Catholic church. Or he may have some knowledge that will be helpful. While the N. Fox Island operation appeared to simply ordain their own “ministers,” why not ask this fuck if he knew Frank Shelden or any of the other organized pedophiles operating freely in Michigan. Was he ever at Fox Island? There are 10,000 questions he should be asked.
Police explain that the assault at Camp Ozanam was “an isolated incident.” The chances that this was an isolated incident are exactly zero. If you were victimized at Camp Ozanam, saw or knew of anything untoward, please call the Michigan Attorney General’s office at 517-335-7622 and ask to speak to someone in the Criminal Investigative Division. The office recently extradited this pedophile priest from Illinois to Michigan to answer for 1977 sex crimes against minor(s). They, unlike other law enforcement in Michigan, do not appear to be messing around.
Men like this think they can straighten everything up at the Pearly Gates and that forgiveness for this most heinous of crimes is freely given. I don’t know how that works, but I do know this man should have to stand at the prison gates first to answer for his crimes. Over $300,000 was paid to one of Berthiaume’s victims many years ago. I hope other victims of this bad priest file civil suits as well and do not agree to any kind of a nondisclosure agreement. This man and his enablers need to pay up.
Berthiaume will probably lie and feign memory loss when it comes to any knowledge about the OCCK crimes or related pedophile activities. After all, police and prosecutors have done the same thing in the OCCK investigation for decades. But he needs to be pressed on this anyway. And either way, if there are more victims out there–as we know by statistics, there must be–he needs to pay for those crimes with his freedom and his enablers’ checkbook. “I’m just a rapist, not a murderer,” might help Berthiaume in the OCCK case but he is a significant part of Michigan’s history of ignoring the cries of children and teens who were victimized in a part of the country where officials routinely looked the other way.