Belfast Telegraph

Wahlberg asks state for pardon

Mark Wahlberg is asking a US state for a pardon for attacks he committed in 1988 when he was a troubled teenager.

The 43-year-old actor said he has dedicated himself to becoming a better person in his adult years so he can be a role model to his children and others.

The former rapper, known as Marky Mark - now the star of movies including The Departed and The Gambler - has filed a pardon application with Massachusetts over the assaults.

In 1988, when Mark was 16, he struck a man on the head with a wooden stick while trying to steal two cases of alcohol in front of a convenience store near his family's home in the Dorchester section of Boston, the application said. He punched another man in the face while trying to avoid police.

Mark said in the application that he was high on marijuana and other drugs at the time and police caught him with a small amount of pot. He also apologised for his actions.

He ended up being convicted as an adult of assault and other charges, and was sentenced to three months in jail. He said he was released after serving about 45 days.

In the application Mark said that he turned his life around and became a successful music artist, actor and film and television producer. He also noted he has raised millions of dollars for charity and donated his time and efforts for philanthropic causes.

"I have not engaged in philanthropic efforts in order to make people forget about my past," he said in the application. "To the contrary, I want people to remember my past so that I can serve as an example of how lives can be turned around and how people can be redeemed.

"Rather than ignore or deny my troubled past, I have used the public spotlight to speak openly about the mistakes I made as a teenager so that others do not make those same mistakes."

The Massachusetts Parole Board would have to review Mark's case and make a recommendation to the governor, who has the ultimate authority to grant pardons.

Pardons rarely are issued in Massachusetts. Governor Deval Patrick, winding up eight years in office, has yet to approve one, nor did his predecessor, Mitt Romney. If Mark is pardoned, it would almost certainly fall to Republican governor-elect Charlie Baker to sign off.

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