Priest Faces Second Sex-Assault Charge. Fortier's Assignments, Leaves in Diocese

By Michael McCord
Union Leader (Manchester, NH)
November 11, 1997

FARMINGTON Police have arrested the Rev. Roger A. Fortier for a second time and charged him with sexually assaulting a teenage boy while serving at St. Peter's Church.

Farmington Police Chief Scott Roberge said Fortier, 51, was arrested in Nashua on Friday and returned to Farmington the same day and charged with felonious sexual assault, a Class B felony.

Roberge said the alleged victim, who is now an adult, contacted police following Fortier's Oct. 28 arrest on charges of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old male parishioner at his rectory residence. Fortier, who was put on administrative leave after his arrest, had served at St. Peter's since 1991.

According to Roberge, the young man in the latest reported incident was a parishioner and the assault took place sometime in the past five years. Roberge said the alleged victim still lives in New Hampshire but declined to comment on any further details. He believes Fortier has been in the Nashua area since he left St. Peter's. Following the second arrest, Fortier was arraigned in Rochester District Court. At the request of the Strafford County Attorney's office, Fortier's bail was set at $ 20,000 cash surety. Fortier was originally released on $ 20,000 personal recognizance bail.

According to court documents, police also seized child pornography materials during the Oct. 27 search of Fortier's residence. Roberge declined to comment on any evidence seized in the investigation.

Roberge and County Attorney Lincoln Soldati had the search and arrest records sealed by court order. "I feel confident about the investigation we've done in this case to establish that felonies were committed. But we must be careful not to divulge information that could jeopardize the ongoing investigation or prevent a fair trial," Roberge said about why he requested the sealing of the warrants.

Soldati said he hopes to put the case against Fortier before a Strafford County Grand Jury in early December. A probable cause hearing is scheduled for tomorrow in Rochester District Court. If convicted of the alleged charges, Fortier faces a 31/2 to 7-year prison sentence on each count.

No comment was available from Fortier's defense attorney Stephen T. Jeffco of Portsmouth or officials at the Diocese of Manchester. The Diocese announced "that at no time has the Diocese of Manchester received any allegations or complaints regarding sexual contact by Father Fortier with any minor until the present situation. If anyone has such information, we urge that the information be brought forward to legal or church authorities."

While on administrative leave, Fortier is not allowed to perform any priestly functions until his legal situation is resolved, said Diocese spokesman Matthew McSorley. Fortier had served at six other parishes in Manchester, Nashua, Plaistow and Rochester since being ordained in 1980.

Fortier's Assignments, Leaves in Diocese

Following his ordination by the Diocese of Manchester in 1980, Fortier was assigned to seven parishes. He also was given two medical leaves of absence, according to information provided by the Diocese.

Those assignments and leaves were:

April 1980 Sacred Heart, Manchester.

June 1980 St. John the Baptist, Manchester.

June 1984 Holy Rosary, Rochester.

January 1987 to June 1988 Medical leave.

June 1988 Infant Jesus, Nashua.

August 1989 Six-week medical leave.

October 1989 Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Manchester.

October 1990 Holy Angels, Plaistow.

February 1991 St. Peter, Farmington.


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