Terminally Ill Ex-priest Jailed for Sex Crimes Granted Parole
By Mark Hayward
New Hampshire Union Leader
July 6, 2017
Convicted former Farmington priest Roger Fortier, who wasn’t expected to be out of prison for another 11 years at the earliest, won parole Thursday after doctors said cancer is spreading throughout his body, corrections officials said.
Once parole officers confirm his plans, Fortier, 71, will be paroled for medical reasons and live with his sister in Sanbornton.
Roger Fortier was sentenced in 1998 for multiple sex crimes against two altar boys when he served at St. Peter Church in Farmington in the 1990s, according to past media reports. He received a 30- to 60-year sentence.
His earliest possible parole date had been in September 2028, said Jeffrey Lyons, a spokesman for the Department of Corrections.
Doctors have diagnosed Fortier with cancer of the kidneys; it has spread to his lungs, said Ashlyn St. Germain, executive assistant to the parole board.
St. Germain said the medical parole follows provisions in state law that allow medical parole if three conditions are met: the inmate has a doctor-certified terminal, debilitating, incapacitating, or incurable medical condition; the cost of medical care is excessive; the inmate likely won’t break any laws and will act as a good citizen.
Fortier will wear an ankle bracelet or similar electronic monitoring device. And his care providers will have to provide quarterly reports of his condition. State law allows for his return to prison if his condition improves.
“This will essentially be a house-arrest status with the exception of his medical appointments,” St. Germain said.
It could take several weeks for parole officers to verify the parole plan.
Fortier was defrocked in 2005, according to the Diocese of Manchester.
“He is no longer a priest,” said diocesan spokesman Tom Bebbington. Because Fortier was dismissed from the priesthood, the diocese has no knowledge about how his medical bills will be paid, Bebbington said.
Fortier had spent nine days in 2017 in a hospital outside prison walls and 79 days in the prison infirmary, Lyons said.
Lyons said Fortier had no disciplinary infractions during his 19 years in state prison. He completed the prison sex-offender treatment program, which requires participants to admit their guilt, in 2006.