Hearing held on harassment charges against Berlin resident
Published Date Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
PLEASE READ FRANK LAFERRIERE’S COMMENT AT END OF POSTING.
By Debra Thornblad
A hearing on charges that a Berlin resident made harassing phone calls to the president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights took the better part of the day in Lancaster District Court Tuesday.
The hearing was continued while Lancaster District Court Judge Paul Desjardins considers a motion to dismiss filed by the defendant, Frank LaFerriere, 53, of Berlin.
LaFerriere is charged with three counts of harassment against William Donohue, who heads the non-profit Catholic advocacy organization based in New York City. LaFerriere has a pending lawsuit against the Catholic Church for sexual assaults that he says happened when he was 14 and 15.
The three harassment complaints allege LaFerriere called Donohue’s cell phone in January and February of this year, leaving what Donohue described as “abusive, annoying and threatening” messages.
LaFerriere was arrested on one count of harassment on February 22 and two other counts were added on June 28.
Donohue was the first witness on the stand. He described himself as a writer and publisher of a blog and several books and said he has also appeared on several television and radio programs. He agreed under cross examination that he had taken some positions on issues involving the Catholic Church for which he had been criticized and that he was a public person who had put himself and his views “out there.”
Donohue estimated that from December 2011 to early this year he had received about 150 calls from LaFerriere, who identified himself in some of the calls. Donohue started taping the calls in March 2012 and also contacted New York City police, who thought it might be a hate crime and recommended a bodyguard. New York police opened an investigation and contacted Berlin police, who filed the complaints.
Donohue was asked if he had ever responded in any way to LaFrenierre and he said he hadn’t. He eventually taped 50 calls and submitted the 28 most serious to police.
The three calls on which the complaints are based, made on January 12, 26 and February 16 of this year, were played in the courtroom. The calls were full of obscenities, foul and coarse language, and were critical and condemning of pedophile priests and those who protect and support them. The caller said he would continue to speak about what had happened to him and make sure the priests involved were put in prison where they belonged. He also stated it was sure they would go to hell, where he hoped they would be raped by demons as he had been by the priest that assaulted him. There were no physical threats, however, and LaFerriere was not charged with criminal threatening.
Donohue confirmed in court that he has made statements saying he believes a teenage boy 15 to 17 years old has the ability to fend off sexual attacks by a priest and if he didn’t it was because it was a consensual homosexual act.
LaFerriere’s attorney Jay Duguay focused his cross- examination of Donohue on public statements he has made and how those comments might affect the state of mind of a victim like LaFerriere. Duguay said Donohue has called alleged victims “liars, dropouts, thieves and gold diggers looking for a pay day.”
Donohue argued that many of his criticisms referred to dishonest organizations that portrayed themselves as helping victims of priest abuse. He claimed he had never criticized the victims themselves.
“I will never defend the indefensible,” a quote he said he made in a 2002 New York Times article. “There are some bad priests,” he said, adding that there are also some victims who have lied about being abused by priests.
Considerable time was spent during the examination and cross-examination of Donohue on past reports and court cases and what Donohue was referring to when he made some of his most controversial statements.
Following Donohue, Berlin Police Prosecutor Daniel Buteau called Berlin Detective Wade Goulet to the stand and asked him what role he played in the investigation.
Goulet said he had written the supporting affidavit to apply for a search warrant for LaFarriere’s phone records.
Buteau tried to enter the call logs as an exhibit, but Duguay objected, saying they were hearsay. He said in order to enter them the state would either have to have the “keeper of the records,” the phone company, present to swear to their authenticity, or an affidavit from the keeper of the records. Duguay said Goulet could not certify they’re accurate.
After some back and forth on the issue, the judge asked to see both in his chambers. He then ruled the call logs were inadmissible.
Berlin Police Detective Luc Poulin testified when he heard the taped calls he recognized the voice as that of Frank LaFerriere.
Lt. Detective Richard Plourde, the lead detective on the case, said an officer on the New York City Hate Crimes Task Force first contacted him about the case. He was told a resident in New York City was receiving harassing and disturbing phone messages. Plourde said he spoke to Donohue and the New York police emailed him 28 phone messages, which he downloaded onto a CD.
On Feb. 21, he went to LaFerriere’s residence and asked him to come to the police station where he was interviewed by Plourde and Anderson Smart, a detective with the New York City police department.
Despite an objection from Duguay, Buteau was allowed to play some of the interview tape. On the tape, LaFerriere admitted he had made the calls. When asked why, he said it was because of the nasty, perverted things Donohue had said about victims of priest abuse, calling them liars, gold diggers and that they should just shut their mouths and go away.
“As someone who has gone through what I have, I should never have to hear these things,” he told the two officers.
LaFerriere said he had hid what had happened to him for 36 years and had tried to kill himself many times.
“I wanted him to know the pain I’ve gone through,” he said.
On the tape, LaFerriere was asked what stopped him from going to New York.
“I don’t want to get in trouble. I don’t know if I could control myself if I saw him,” he said.
LaFerriere was asked in the interview if he wanted Donohue dead.
“No, because that will stop his suffering,” he said. In one of his messages, LaFerriere said he hoped Donohue would get some horrible disease and suffer.
In the interview, LaFerriere said when he stated in one of the phone messages, “I’m coming for you, and all your pedophile priests,” he meant he was going to expose them all for what they had done.
When asked if he should have made those calls, he said, “maybe not, but I didn’t know any other way to react to him.”
Following the tape and later, in a motion to dismiss, Duguay argued that Donohue’s statements about victims were inflammatory and hurtful to people like LaFerriere.
He said the crux of the case is whether or not the calls and things said in the calls were constitutionally protected free speech. He said that hinged on whether or not the calls served a legitimate communicative purpose. Duguay said while LaFerriere’s language was offensive, it didn’t matter if it served that purpose.
To prove his point, Duguay dissected each of the three phone messages in the harassment charges against LaFerriere. Excluding the obscene and foul language, he argued that there was a message in each that LaFerriere was trying to get across.
In the first message, Duguay said LaFerriere accused Donohue of picking on gays and suggested he deal with the problem in the church. Duguay said LaFerriere was trying to point out the hypocrisy of Donohue’s position and suggesting he clean his own house first.
In the second message, LaFerriere accused Donohue of defending a cardinal for covering up in an abuse case involving priests. LaFerriere said Donohue thought all the victims were a bunch of liars and gold diggers. Duguay argued LaFerriere was trying to point out the affect Donohue’s statements had on him and others.
In the third message, LaFerriere told Donohue he was not afraid of him and would continue to speak up until they were all in prison.
Dugay said these all three messages had a legitimate communicative purpose.
He said the U.S. Supreme Court laid out what was meant by protected speech in the Westboro Baptist Church case, the church best known for picketing military funerals. The court had ruled that the issues on their posters were “speech on matters of public concern.” He said the issues around abuse by priests are likewise matters of public concern.
Duguay argued by making his statements, Donohue “opens himself up to reactions on issues of public concern. He puts himself in a position where he’s intentionally controversial, puts himself out there, puts his phone number out there. I don’t know if there’s anything more offensive than that, telling a 15-year old that he’s partly to blame for what happened to him and that he’s thus homosexual,” Duguay said.
Buteau said he didn’t think the Westboro case was relevant as it involved church members picketing, not making personal phone calls. He argued that LaFerriere’s purpose was solely to alarm.
Duguay countered that LaFerriere that he has the right to alarm if it’s for a legitimate purpose.
“He doesn’t have an unlimited right to alarm,” Buteau responded.
If Desjardins denies the motion to dismiss, the case will continue on Nov. 22 at 1 p.m. LaFerriere is expected to testify if that happens.
NOTE COMMENTS BY FRANK LAFERRIERE, PUBLISHER OF RAPE VICTIMS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH:
One thing not included fully in this story is Donohue’s comment about how the Roman Catholic Church does not have a pedophile problem but a homosexuality problem. Mr Donohue states that if 81% of the victims are male and 100% of the victimizers are male, and if 78% of the victims are post-pubescent, the word in the English language is not pedophilia, it’s called homosexuality.”
I take offense at Mr Donohue stating this as he in a way is right, the RCC does not have a pedophile problem, but a child abuse, child rape, child torture problem. Seeing Mr Donohue enjoys semantics though, if the judge does not dismiss the charges, then I will educate not only Mr Donohue but others, through my testimony, exactly the problem with the Unholy Roman Catholic Church of Pedophile Pimps is.
Posted on October 4, 2013, in Berlin Daily Sun, Bill Donohue, Catholic League, Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, Child Sex Abuse, Clergy Abuse, Clergy Sex Abuse, Pope Benedict XVI, Priest Child Sex Abuse, Religion, Roman Catholic Church, Roman Catholic Church Sex Abuse, St Thomas Moore Parish Durham NH, St Thomas More, St Thomas More Durham NH, St Thomas More Parish, Uncategorized, Vatican, William A Donohue and tagged Bill Donohue, Bill Donohue. William A Donohue. William Donohue. Catholic League, Catholic League, Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, child abuse, clergy abuse, crimes against children, Curia, Frank J LaFerriere, Frank Laferriere, pedophile, pedophile priests, pope benedict XVI, Pope Francis, priest abuse, priest pedophilles, priest rape, priest sex abuse, religion, roman catholic church, Roman Catholic Church Child Rape Scandal, Roman Catholic Church Child Sex Abuse, Roman Catholic Church Child Sex Abuse Scandal, Roman Catholic Church Child Slavery, Roman Catholic Church Pedophile Cover up Scandal, Roman Catholic Church Pedophile Coverup Scandal, Roman Catholic Church Pedophile Pimps, Roman Catholic Church Pedophile Scandal, Roman Catholic Church Pedophiles, Roman Catholic Church Sex Abuse Coverups, Roman Catholic Church sex abuse scandal, roman catholic church sex scandal, roman catholic clergy, roman catholics, St Thomas Moore Parish Durham NH, St Thomas More Parish, The Curia, The Vatican, William A Donohue. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.