Category Archives: Father Mark Fleming

Lawsuit Links Cardinal to Placing Pedophile Priest in Pepperell, Lowell


Lawsuit Links Cardinal to Placing Pedophile Priest in Pepperell, Lowell

By Lisa Redmond
Lowell (MA) Sun
April 10, 2002

From the Link: http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news/2002_04_10_Redmond_LawsuitLinks.htm

Lowell, MA – New civil lawsuits accuse two priests who served in three Greater Lowell communities of sexual abuse, alleging that church leaders knew about the incidents and did nothing to stop them.

A Lowell man says he was abused for four years by the Rev. Richard O. Matte, then at St. Louis De France Parish in Lowell.

And three brothers say they were molested more than 100 times each by the Rev. Mark Fleming, at John the Evangelist parish in Hudson, N.H., in the early 1980s.

In the Lowell case, Derek Mousseau has sued Matte, Cardinal Bernard Law and the Archdiocese of Boston, saying that Law knew or should have known that Matte was allegedly committing sexual predatory acts. The lawsuit says Mousseau was 13 when the abuse began in 1989.

Matte was a school chaplain at the Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood in the early 1970s, According to published reports, school administrators were told Matte had been abusing one student during confessions.

The student who reported the alleged abuse was suspended for starting the rumor about Matte, while the priest continued at the school, reports state.

Mousseau’s suit alleges that the church received numerous complaints against Matte. Attorney Roderick MacLeish says that around 1988, Law removed Matte from the Assumption Parish in Bellingham because of complaints of sex abuse. Law was aware of the molestation complaints against Matte while he was at St. Joseph’s Parish in Pepperell and while he was assigned to Xaverian, MacLeish says.

Matte was placed on sick leave in 1993, reportedly to receive treatment related to sex abuse of young boys, the lawsuit states. Matte returned to duty in 1996, working in the Boston Ardhiocese personnel office. He has retired.

It is not clear if Matte could face criminal charges. The Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office declined comment.

The lawsuit accuses Matte of assault and battery, and Law of negligence. It asks for more than $25,000. Lawsuits filed against the church total in the millions of dollars.

Neither MacLeish or Mousseau could be reached for comment. Donna Morrissey, spokesman for the Boston Archidocese, did not return phone calls. Matte, who is retired and lives in South Dennis, has an unlisted phone number.

In the New Hampshire case, Fleming is accused of “savagely sexually assaulting” all three brothers from 1974 and 1983. They are not identified in their lawsuit.

Their attorney, Mark Abramson, said that in one case, Fleming held one of the boys under water in an apparent display of his power.

The allegation is in one of four lawsuits Abramson filed Monday on behalf of six men who say they were sexually abused by priests. The lawsuits accuse officials of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester of failing to protect the men from the alleged assaults, the most recent of which was in 1983.

According to the lawsuit, most of the assaults against the brothers took place at the church rectory. The lawsuit says another priest at the parish, the Rev. Stephen Scruton, knew of the abuse, did nothing to prevent it, and molested one of the boys himself. Scruton was fired from a job as a counselor for sex offenders at a jail in Massachusetts when the diocese released a list of priests accused of sexual offenses. Scruton does not have a listed telephone number in the state.

Calls to the churches involved failed to turn up anyone who even recognized the names of the accused priests. There is an unlisted number for a Mark Fleming in Manchester, where Abramson said the former Hudson priest lives.

In a written statement, Bishop John McCormack said he was saddened by the reports and committed to helping anyone sexually abused by a priest.

Abramson said the brothers’ family reported the assaults in 1983 and the case went to the attorney general’s office. Abramson does not know why it was not prosecuted. Assistant Attorney General N. William Delker said he could not comment on the 1983 allegations, or the current lawsuits.

Diocesan spokesman Patrick McGee said that while Fleming has not been defrocked, his right to minister was revoked in 1983 when an accusation was made against him. McGee did not know whether it was the same allegation that prompted the brothers’ lawsuit.

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Former priest barred from contact with anyone under 16, turns up at other NH churches


Former priest barred from contact with anyone under 16, turns up at other NH churches


Monitor staff

Monday, January 18, 2016
From the Link: http://www.concordmonitor.com/Archive/2016/01/ChurchSide-cm-011716
The South Parish Unitarian Church, locked during a cold winter rainstorm, looked like so many other churches in so many other towns.

Its steeple and clock, standing tall at the edge of Charlestown’s main strip, rose through the mist, a sign out front attached to weathered brick reading “built in 1844.”

Recently, a man named Mark Fleming, a former Catholic priest accused of molesting three young boys in the 1980s, worked at this historic site, perhaps breaking an agreement that forbade him from having contact with children younger than 16.

A Manchester attorney, Mark Abramson, who represented the boys in a civil suit in 2002, is still outraged that Fleming never served any prison time.

“It’s a shame the public can’t have the opportunity to hear in detail from these boys what happened,” Abramson said in a phone interview. “Now of course they are grown men, but they are haunted by this and it could have destroyed their lives, and to some extent it has.”

Like so many other priests who faced credible accusations of sexual assault, Fleming was never prosecuted. Many priests were protected by an expired statute of limitations, or perhaps families were unwilling to face them in a criminal trial.

As a result, many of the priests who were exposed for inappropriate sexual relationships in Massachusetts and New Hampshire remain free to live wherever they want, away from the watchful eye of law enforcement.

The Monitor learned about Fleming’s background in Charlestown from David Clohessy, the national leader of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.

Clohessy, who is based in St. Louis and was sexually abused by a priest as a child, wrote on his website last month that Fleming “now heads the South Parish Unitarian Church in Charlestown.”

Fleming, who lives in Manchester, told the Monitor by phone that he worked at the church “for quite some time.” He said officials were aware of his background, and said children were never part of the congregation.

Hard of hearing and startled by the call, Fleming hung up before revealing any more information. His freedom, though, underscores the state’s inability to prosecute men who would have been put behind bars if not for the power of their white collars.

Paperwork from the Diocese of Manchester and the attorney general’s office reveal that Fleming admitted molesting the three boys, all brothers, at Saint John the Evangelist Parish in Hudson in 1983.

“The incident of abuse involved an 11-year-old child lying naked on a bed in the rectory in Hudson. Rev. Fleming was discovered fondling the genitals of the boy. Rev. Fleming has admitted the act, having been confronted by his superiors,” stated a child sexual abuse report to the attorney general’s office.

The boys’ father, documents show, declined to press charges, saying the family wanted to avoid shame and scandal.

Fleming then signed an agreement in 1984 that forbade him from “teaching or in any way participating in any future religious, educational, or organized social programs which involve children under the age of 16 . . . for the remainder of his natural life.”

In that same agreement, the Hillsborough County Attorney’s office agreed not to seek indictments if Fleming stuck to the deal.

If Fleming, now 63, violated the agreement, he could potentially face prosecution for the original offenses, lawyers said, but that could ultimately fall to a judge to decide.

Fleming resigned from the Diocese of Manchester while undergoing therapy in Missouri in 1986.

Another document, a confidential memorandum from 1997 sent by Monsignor Normal Bolduc to Bishop Francis Christian, incorrectly reported that Fleming “passed away sometime last month.”

John Hurley, director of communications for the Unitarian Universalist Association, based in Boston, wrote in an email to the Monitor that a Mark Fleming worked at the First Universalist Church of West Chesterfield from 1998 to 2000.

The Monitor was not able to confirm that this was the same person accused of assaulting children in 1983.

In 2002, Fleming was named in a civil suit brought by the three boys who had accused him of molesting them in ’83, which ended in a settlement.

Abramson said Fleming should have been locked up for his crimes. He no longer represents victims of child sexual abuse. “It just took a toll on me personally,” Abramson said.

As for Fleming, he told the Monitor he recently left the Unitarian church in Charlestown. His exact role there and whether he had contact with minors remains a mystery.

He became a member in October 2013, according to Hurley. Fleming lists himself as a minister on his LinkedIn account.

“We have no indication that he was serving them as a minister, only that he was a member,” Hurley said in his email. “His exact role in that congregation could only be ascertained by checking with the congregation.”

One number listed for the Charlestown church was disconnected, while another rang for a while before a high-pitched beep sounded.

And recently, the doors there were locked.

(Ray Duckler can be reached at 369-3304 or rduckler@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @rayduckler.)

Former Catholic Priest Mark Fleming At NH Historic Church


Former Catholic Priest Mark Fleming At NH Historic Church

From the link: https://predatorshepherds.wordpress.com/2016/01/20/former-catholic-priest-mark-fleming-at-nh-historic-church/

Former priest barred from contact with anyone under 16, turns up at other NH churches.

The South Parish , locked during a cold winter rainstorm, looked like so many other churches in so many other towns.

Its steeple and clock, standing tall at the edge of Charlestown’s main strip, rose through the mist, a sign out front attached to weathered brick reading “built in 1844.”

Recently, a man named Mark Fleming, a former Catholic priest accused of molesting three young boys in the 1980s, worked at this historic site, perhaps breaking an agreement that forbade him from having contact with children younger than 16.

A Manchester attorney, Mark Abramson, who represented the boys in a civil suit in 2002, is still outraged that Fleming never served any prison time.

“It’s a shame the public can’t have the opportunity to hear in detail from these boys what happened,” Abramson said in a phone interview. “Now of course they are grown men, but they are haunted by this and it could have destroyed their lives, and to some extent it has.”

Like so many other priests who faced credible accusations of sexual assault, Fleming was never prosecuted. Many priests were protected by an expired statute of limitations, or perhaps families were unwilling to face them in a criminal trial.

As a result, many of the priests who were exposed for inappropriate sexual relationships in Massachusetts and New Hampshire remain free to live wherever they want, away from the watchful eye of law enforcement.

The Monitor learned about Fleming’s background in Charlestown from David Clohessy, the national leader of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.

Clohessy, who is based in St. Louis and was sexually abused by a priest as a child, wrote on his website last month that Fleming “now heads the South Parish Unitarian Church in Charlestown.”

Fleming, who lives in Manchester, told the Monitor by phone that he worked at the church “for quite some time.” He said officials were aware of his background, and said children were never part of the congregation.

Hard of hearing and startled by the call, Fleming hung up before revealing any more information. His freedom, though, underscores the state’s inability to prosecute men who would have been put behind bars if not for the power of their white collars.

Paperwork from the Diocese of Manchester and the attorney general’s office reveal that Fleming admitted molesting the three boys, all brothers, at Saint John the Evangelist Parish in Hudson in 1983.

“The incident of abuse involved an 11-year-old child lying naked on a bed in the rectory in Hudson. Rev. Fleming was discovered fondling the genitals of the boy. Rev. Fleming has admitted the act, having been confronted by his superiors,” stated a child sexual abuse report to the attorney general’s office.

The boys’ father, documents show, declined to press charges, saying the family wanted to avoid shame and scandal.

Fleming then signed an agreement in 1984 that forbade him from “teaching or in any way participating in any future religious, educational, or organized social programs which involve children under the age of 16 . . . for the remainder of his natural life.”

In that same agreement, the Hillsborough County Attorney’s office agreed not to seek indictments if Fleming stuck to the deal.

If Fleming, now 63, violated the agreement, he could potentially face prosecution for the original offenses, lawyers said, but that could ultimately fall to a judge to decide.

Fleming resigned from the Diocese of Manchester while undergoing therapy in Missouri in 1986.

Another document, a confidential memorandum from 1997 sent by Monsignor Normal Bolduc to Bishop Francis Christian, incorrectly reported that Fleming “passed away sometime last month.”

John Hurley, director of communications for the Unitarian Universalist Association, based in Boston, wrote in an email to the Monitor that a Mark Fleming worked at the First Universalist Church of West Chesterfield from 1998 to 2000.

The Monitor was not able to confirm that this was the same person accused of assaulting children in 1983.

In 2002, Fleming was named in a civil suit brought by the three boys who had accused him of molesting them in ’83, which ended in a settlement.

Abramson said Fleming should have been locked up for his crimes. He no longer represents victims of child sexual abuse. “It just took a toll on me personally,” Abramson said.

As for Fleming, he told the Monitor he recently left the Unitarian church in Charlestown. His exact role there and whether he had contact with minors remains a mystery.

He became a member in October 2013, according to Hurley. Fleming lists himself as a minister on his LinkedIn account.

“We have no indication that he was serving them as a minister, only that he was a member,” Hurley said in his email. “His exact role in that congregation could only be ascertained by checking with the congregation.”

One number listed for the Charlestown church was disconnected, while another rang for a while before a high-pitched beep sounded.

And recently, the doors there were locked.