Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly
COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS
NO. 2003-10072 (001-021)
FINDINGS OF FACT AND ORDER ON
DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO DETERMINE COMPETENCY
The defendant, Fidelis DeBerardinis (“DeBerardinis”), has been charged with unnatural and lascivious acts with a child under sixteen (Counts 1-3, 9, 15-19 and 21), indecent assault and battery on a child under fourteen (Counts 4-8, 10-13 and 20), and open and gross lewdness (Count 14). He has now moved the court for a determination of his competence to stand trial on these charges.
The court conducted an evidentiary hearing on the defendant’s motion on May 11, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 19, 2004. It heard testimony from Laura Bridges, Terry Watters, Ph.D., Dr. Renee Sorrentino, Susan Lewis, J.D., Ph.D., Dr. Bruce H. Price, Brother Charles Gingerich, Nancy Hebben, Ph.D., Deborah Levy, Ph.D., Dr. Alexander Bodkin, and Timothy P. O’Neill, Esq. The court also received 33 exhibits into evidence at the hearing.
Upon consideration of such testimony from the witnesses as the court finds credible, the exhibits, and the memoranda and oral arguments of counsel, the court makes the following findings of fact and Order on the issue of the defendant’s competency to stand trial in this case.
FINDINGS OF FACT
Frank Paul (Brother Fidelis) DeBerardinis, was born on July 10, 1927, the sixth or seventh of nine children. At least two of his siblings are alive, although neither the Commonwealth’s competency experts nor his own expert witnesses made any effort to contact or speak to them about DeBerardinis, or to secure any information from them about his past or his physical or mental health history. Thus, the only information presented to the court about DeBerardinis prior to age 45 is from his own self-reported history to the various individuals who examined, tested, and treated him. (Exhibits 12 and 13).
At age 18, DeBerardinis left the tenth grade of public school to enter a Catholic seminary. Although he desired to become a priest, he apparently was unsuccessful in his studies for the priesthood and instead undertook training to become a Franciscan Friar. He never received a high school diploma. After becoming a friar in 1948, DeBerardinis was assigned, in successive years, to missions in Troy and Brooklyn, New York. He was then sent to Central America, where from 1953 to 1964 he served as a missionary in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. DeBerardinis then served at a church in the Bronx, New York for four years. He was then transferred to Our Lady of Mount Carmel in East Boston, where the present offenses allegedly occurred from 1968 to 1973. In 1974, DeBerardinis was sent to Jerusalem where he briefly served as a missionary before returning to upstate New York. He then went to St. Francis Church in Toronto, Ontario, where he stayed from 1974 to 1988. During this period he developed numerous medical conditions, including hypertension, type II diabetes, hyper-cholesterolemia, hypothyroidism and worsening coronary artery disease. (Exhibits 12 and 13).
Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.