Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Episcopal priest the Rev. Paul A. LaCharite, 65, of Boston, formerly of St. James Episcopal Church near Teele Square, Somerville, was found dead late Thursday of an apparent drug overdose, police say.

He was found in a car in the Government Center parking garage just after 7:30 p.m., and police tried without success to revive him. The Boston Herald said Boston EMS declared LaCharite dead at 8:05 p.m..

“This is an unspeakable tragedy,” his lawyer, David Meier told the Herald, confirming the man’s identify. “Father Paul LaCharite was truly an innocent man who was driven to the depths of despair by a false accusation.”

He had been arrested on charges of assault to rape a child and indecent assault and battery on a child, a longtime parishioner at St. James. In the 1990s, beginning when the victim was in elementary school, LaCharite, a priest at the church, began inappropriately touching the victim in his office, authorities said. The conduct was alleged to have progressed over a decade to include several indecent assault and batteries and assaults with the intent to rape a child, with the abuse finally ending when the victim was a teen and left St. James.

LaCharite was arrested Sept. 7, the same week the teen came forward with his accusations. Three days later, Somerville District Court Judge Maurice Flynn ordered $10,000 cash bail for LaCharite and ordered him to stay away from the victim’s home and work, have no unsupervised contact with children under the age of 16, surrender his passport, report to probation as deemed appropriate by the Probation Department, not possess any firearms or dangerous weapons, refrain from excessive use of alcohol or narcotics without prescription, and abide by any restraining orders. LaCharite was due back in court Oct. 22 for a probable cause hearing.