CONCORD, N.H. — A former priest who was convicted in New Hampshire of sexually assaulting two teenage boys in the 1990s and sentenced to 30 years in prison has been granted parole because he has terminal cancer, a board decided Thursday.
WMUR-TV reports (http://bit.ly/2tm5wTJ ) Roger Fortier had about 11 years left on his sentence. But after a doctor said that he has about six months to live, the state parole board agreed his condition was incurable and that the cost of caring for him would be high. Fortier plans to live with his sister, under house arrest, wearing an electronic device. A parole officer would need to approve the arrangement.
“I have no excuse for what I did,” Fortier told the board. He said he has lived with what happened for nearly 20 years and has lost other things, too, including the church.
Fortier, formerly of St. Peters Church, in Farmington, was convicted following a trial in August 1998. His lawyer argued one boy made up the claims in order to exhort money from the church, and the other boy was schizophrenic and wasn’t taking his medication at the time of the alleged assaults.
One boy testified the abuse began when he accepted Fortier’s invitations to spend weekends at the rectory. He said he went because he was jealous of the attention his older brother was receiving from the priest.
Fortier’s other accuser said the priest molested him starting in January 1994, when he was 14. He said Fortier showed him pornographic films, then rubbed his crotch and performed oral sex on him.
In November 1988, Fortier also pleaded guilty to attempted felonious sexual assault against the brother of one of the victims.
Information from: WMUR-TV, http://wmur.com