Third Teen Accuses Priest

By Michael McCord
Union Leader (Manchester, NH)
July 16, 1998

DOVER A third teenager has come forward alleging Rev. Roger Fortier sexually assaulted him almost 18 months ago.

According to Strafford County Superior Court documents, seven new indictments were issued by the grand jury Tuesday.

One of the indictments charges Fortier, the 51-year-old former priest at St. Peter Parish in Farmington, with aggravated felonious sexual assault of a 16-year-old male parishioner in February 1997.

Court documents say the teenager came forward in June and alleged Fortier provided alcohol and showed him pornography in his rectory residence.

Six of the new indictments are upgrades to aggravated felonious sexual assault counts, Class A felonies, from felonious sexual assaults.

The accusations relate to the alleged assaults of two former teenage male parishioners between 1994 and 1997.

The indictment upgrades accuse Fortier of using his "position of authority" to coerce the two boys.

In total, Fortier faces nine counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault and three charges of felonious sexual assault. If convicted of all counts, Fortier could face up to a 156-year state prison sentence.

Strafford County Attorney Lincoln Soldati was not available for comment and it is not known whether these new indictments will alter the July 27 trial date set for Fortier.

His trial was originally scheduled for June 30 but Judge Bruce E. Mohl granted a last-minute motion by defense attorney Stephen Jeffco to continue the trial to review medical records of the youngest victim.

Jeffco received the records the day before the trial was to begin and wrote he needed adequate time to review the reports to provide his client with effective counsel.

Jeffco also wrote "the reports could be used for cross-examination of the alleged victim and to provide an alternative theory for (the victim's) statement to police."

Fortier, who is free on $ 20,000 cash bail, was first arrested Oct. 28 for allegedly sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy earlier that month.

A second victim, now an adult, came forward soon after and Fortier was charged again for incidents occurring between February 1994 and June 1995 when the boy was between 14 and 16 years old.

Fortier served at St. Peter Parish from February 1991 until he was put on administrative leave by the Catholic Diocese of Manchester following his arrest.


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