Former Sacred Heart priest in court; justice calls for selection of trial date

By Julia Green
Rev. James J. McDevitt, the former priest at the Sacred Heart Parish in Margaretville, appeared briefly in the Town of Middletown Justice Court Thursday morning. McDevitt is currently facing charges of sexual misconduct for incidents that allegedly occurred during his time at the parish. McDevitt appeared with his newly appointed attorney, Paul L. Gruner, who requested a 30-day adjournment to familiarize himself with the case.
Gruner, a Kingston-based attorney, is being substituted for the E. Stewart Jones Law Firm in Troy.
Middletown Town Justice Gary A. Rosa granted the adjournment, but told Gruner and Assistant District Attorney John Hubbard that at the next hearing, scheduled for Thursday, May 13, he would be looking to set a trial date, if that is the direction in which the case is headed.
McDevitt was arrested in July and charged with 20 counts stemming from the alleged misconduct, including six counts of second-degree sexual abuse, one count of third-degree sexual abuse, seven counts of forcible touching, and six counts of endangering the welfare of a child. He is currently free on bail.
McDevitt is also facing a civil suit brought against him on behalf of four alleged victims and their families. It was filed last month in the Supreme Court of the State of New York in Delaware County.