Cape Cod Times [Hyannis MA]
July 6, 2021
By Jessica Hill
A trial date has been tentatively scheduled for the Catholic priest who was charged with rape in a local case.
Mark Hession is scheduled to go to trial Oct. 5, according to a pretrial hearing Monday in Barnstable Superior Court. He faces two charges of rape, one charge of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, and one charge of intimidating a witness.
Hession, a 63-year-old Fairhaven resident, on Jan. 11 pleaded not guilty to the charges. Hession served at 12 different institutions in the Cape Cod and Fall River areas, including as parish priest from 2000 to 2014 at Our Lady of Victory church in Centerville.
At Monday’s hearing, attorney Sharon Thibeault with the Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office said the discovery is almost finished, and sheneeds to receive the list of witnesses the defendant plans to call. She said she anticipates the trial to last about a week — three days to select jury members and three days to hear all the evidence.
Judge Mark Gildea scheduled Hession’s final pretrial conference for Aug. 30, and a hearing on motions for Sept. 29 leading up to the anticipated trial date.
Hession allegedly assaulted the victim with the “intent to commit rape and did commit rape upon such person” on multiple occasions between 2005 and 2008 in Barnstable County, according to the redacted indictments obtained by the Cape Cod Times.
Hession was ordained in 1984 and, in 2009, delivered the homily at the funeral for U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy in Boston. On the Cape, besides Our Lady of Victory, Hession served at Our Lady of the Assumption in Osterville; St. Joan of Arc church in Orleans; and St. Patrick Church in Falmouth. Off-Cape, he served at St. Patrick Parish in Wareham; Holy Name Church and Holy Rosary Chapel, both in Fall River; St. Mary’s Parish in New Bedford; Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River; St. Joseph Church in Taunton; Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Seekonk; and Holy Family parish in East Taunton.
His service record is according to the Diocese of Fall River’s list published in January of publicly or credibly accused religious leaders connected to the diocese.