Priest who served in Brighton during 1970s pleads guilty to child sex crimes

A Catholic priest who served in a Brighton parish decades ago has pleaded guilty to sexually abusing two children during the 1970s in Suffolk County, according to prosecutors.

James Randall Gillette, 77, pleaded guilty during a Jan. 2 appearance in Suffolk Superior Court to two counts of unnatural and lascivious acts on a child, according to the Suffolk district attorney’s office.

Gillette was sentenced to five years under house arrest, during which time he must wear a GPS monitoring bracelet. Additionally, he must register as a sex offender, undergo sex offender treatment as ordered by the probation department, stay away and have no contact with the survivors or any witnesses in the case, and have no one-on-one contact with any child under the age of 18 unless the minor’s parents are present, according to the district attorney’s office.

He did not receive any prison time.

Messages left with Gillette’s attorneys were not immediately returned Monday evening. It was not immediately clear where he was living or whether he had been defrocked by the Roman Catholic Church.

According to attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who has represented one of the case’s two victims in a separate civil case against Gillette, the priest was ordained in 1971 and was assigned to St. Michael’s in Union City, N.J. between 1972 and 1974. He was then assigned to St. Gabriel’s in Brighton from 1975 to 1978. After that, he had assignments in Mexico City, Honduras, and Pittsburgh. He also lived in New York.

One of the victims, Anthony Sgherza, a 58-year-old who now lives in Philadelphia, said he was sexually abused by Gillette between the ages of 10 and 13. Garabedian said Gillette abused Sgherza in the St. Gabriel’s rectory in Brighton, and he also alle...

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