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  Priest Pleads Guilty to Additional Charge

By Jody Record
Union Leader (Manchester, NH)
November 17, 1998

DOVER The Roman Catholic priest sentenced to prison last month for sexually molesting two former altar boys pleaded guilty yesterday on charges of attempting to assault the brother of one of his victims.

The Rev. Roger Fortier entered a guilty plea in Strafford County Superior Court yesterday on the charge of attempted aggravated felonious sexual assault. He was sentenced to 5 to 10 years in New Hampshire State Prison. The jail time will run concurrent with the 30- to 60-year sentence the Farmington priest was handed in October.

"I think the significant thing is the fact that he stood up and said he was guilty," said Strafford County Attorney Lincoln Soldati. "He hasn't admitted it before. This is a very important step. Now the healing process can begin for the family and the community."

Fortier was found guilty last month of sexually molesting two young boys from St. Peter Church in Farmington where he had served as parish priest for the past eight years. At his sentencing hearing in October, Fortier was lambasted by Superior Court Judge Bruce Mohl for his apparent lack of remorse and for not apologizing to the victims.

In July, Fortier was found guilty on eight counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault and two counts of felonious sexual assault. He was slated for a jury trial on the remaining indictment but entered a guilty plea yesterday instead.

"One of the reasons the state agreed to this is for the sake of the family," Soldati said. "They've been put through enough. Where he got a substantial sentence the first time, they were willing to accept the guilty plea to avoid another trial."

Fortier was arrested last October after a 14-year-old boy who often spent weekends with him at the Center Street rectory confided to his mother that Fortier had been molesting him.

Soon after his arrest, a second victim came forward, confessing that Fortier had sexually assaulted him between February 1994 and June 1995. The Catholic Diocese of Manchester suspended the 52-year-old priest shortly after his arrest.

 
 

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