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Former Fall River, New Bedford, and Taunton priest pleads not guilty to rape charges

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A Catholic priest, formerly with the Fall River Diocese, pleaded not guilty on multiple rape charges in Barnstable Superior Court.

According to the Cape Cod Times, Mark Hession was arraigned Monday on two counts of rape, one count of indecent assault and battery on a child less than 14, and one count of intimidation of a witness.

The former priest has been accused of similar charges in the past.

Hession posted his $2,500 cash bail and was released. He had to surrender his passport and was ordered to stay away from the alleged victim.

According to a list of clergy accused of child sexual abuse that was issued by the Fall River Diocese last week, Hession has served at St. Patrick Parish in Wareham, St. Joan of Arc in Orleans, Holy Name in Fall River, St. Mary’s Parish in New Bedford, Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River, St. Joseph Church in Taunton, Holy Rosary in Fall River, St. Patrick Church in Falmouth, Our Lady of Victory in Centerville, Our Lady of the Assumption in Osterville, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Seekonk and Holy Family in East Taunton.

In March of 2019, parishioners at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish and priests of the Fall River Diocese, were informed that Father Hession was placed on leave from active priestly ministry because of conduct inconsistent with standards of ministerial behavior and in direct violation of the Code of Conduct for priests in the Fall River Diocese. Father Hession was formerly assigned to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church until August 2018, when he was reassigned to duties in the Diocesan Tribunal.

Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., made the decision at the time to place Father Hession on leave based on complaints he received about inappropriate communications that Father Hession had sent to several adult parishioners.

Hession is due back in court next month.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Nancy Dube

    January 13, 2021 at 11:04 am

    This is absurd!!! I have known Fr. Mark for many years and he is a true priest. It’s easier to judge than to pray!!!

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