Pittsfield, Massachusetts - A Catholic priest from the Capital Region has been convicted of raping two altar boys over 20 years ago.
Sixty-two-year-old Gary Mercure of Troy has been found guilty on all four counts he faced in Berkshire Superior Court.
Mercure raped the boys in Great Barrington and Monterey in 1986 and in New Ashford in 1989.
Mercure was a priest in the Diocese of Albany at the time and the victims are from New York. He has since been permanently removed from ministry.
After only two hours of deliberation. The jury of eight women and four men returned to Berkshire Superior Court late this morning.
Mercure showed little emotion as the four guilty verdicts were reported. In all he has been convicted of three counts of rape of a child with force and one count of indecent assault and battery.
The crimes were committed on two Queensbury altar boys who were driven separately to Berkshire County by Mercure two years apart in the late 1980s.
After clearing the courtroom camera I saw Mercure wink his right eye at family members who seemed more upset about the verdict than he was.
One victim was in court and reacted to the outcome.
"I'm elated. I'm still in shock. It was a great feeling to see him in handcuffs escorted out of here with a smile on his face," he said.
Mercure's attorney Michael Jennings told reporters he respects the verdict.
"I have a great deal of respect for the jury system. The jury has spoken in this matter and we have no choice but to respect their decision and I do," Jennings said.
The lead prosecutor Paul Caccaviello praised the victims for coming forward.
"Really the heroes in this case are our victims who came forward despite a couple of decades of silence and we're very gratified," Caccaviello said.
Mercure is scheduled to be sentenced next Wednesday, Feb. 16.