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Swampscott priest resigns following allegation

By Christine Tolfree
Posted: 2/11/2005

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Father Jerome F. Gillespie, pastor at St. John the Evangelist Church in Swampscott, resigned after allegations that he propositioned a 12-year-old girl and her mother on Jan. 18.

“In light of the criminal investigation launched earlier this week, Father Gillespie has resigned as pastor of St. John the Evangelist Church,” said an archdiocesan statement. “Father Gillespie’s resignation was accepted in the interest of all parties involved and does not represent any indication of Father Gillespie’s guilt or innocence as it pertains to this allegation.

Father Gillespie, 55, stands accused of propositioning the mother and daughter while at an Italian restaurant in Chelsea. Father Gillespie was sitting at a different table and the women did not know he was a priest since he was not dressed as one, David Pocopio, a spokesman for the Suffolk District Attorney’s Office, told The Daily Item of Lynn.

AP materials contributed to this report