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Priest rape trial stalled for twitter dismissal

Feb 10, 2011 9:19 am
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="The Rev. Gary Mercure, on trial for raping young boys in the Berkshires, as seen in a photo from www.christianshame.com."][/caption]What may be the most serious story unfolding in the greater area - the Pittsfield, MA trial of a priest on rape charges -- was lent a light air in Times Union and Berkshire Eagle stories on February 10 that includes narrative on how a local radio personality, writer and editor was kicked off the trial's jury for tweeting comments during his service. The report was focused on February 9's closing arguments in the rape trial of Gary Mercure, a former priest who a prosecutor characterized as winning the trust of his victims' families with the aid of prayer, and then threatening the violated boys with damnation to keep them quiet. Mercure's lawyer has countered that the alleged victims made up their accounts of sexual attacks in Massachusetts to take advantage of a longer statute of limitations than New York allows. Mercure, who at one time was stationed in Troy, is accused attacking the boys during incidents in the Berkshires in the 1980s, including several in the parking lot at Brodie Mountain and in the parking lot of an Appalachian Trail trailhead. But gaining equal ink in the story was the dismissal of writer and musician Seth Rogovoy, for mentioning his jury duty on Twitter. Rogovoy, editor of Berkshire Living, author of several books, and a longstanding radio personality on WAMC-FM, countered that his use of the social media platform was innocuous and made no specific reference to the case, just puns. Deliberations were set to continue with a replacement from the 16 reserve jurists chosen for the trial on Thursday morning, January 10.

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