Former Towson priest gets probation after indecent exposure conviction

By Elizabeth Lowe

Twitter: @ReviewLowe

Father Mark Stewart Bullock, former associate pastor of the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Towson, was sentenced Aug. 22 to probation and will not serve any jail time after pleading guilty to a single charge of indecent exposure, according to a Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services spokesman.

Father Bullock, 47, was arrested Jan. 16 inside the Bush River Book Store in  Abingdon.

Retired District Court Judge Lawrence Lanahan Jr. sentenced Father Bullock to 360 days in the Harford County Detention Center, all suspended, and to 36 months probation, with at least 18 months supervised, longer if necessary, said Mark Vernarelli, director of public information for the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

Judge Lanahan imposed a $500 fine and $57.50 in court costs, suspending $250 of the fine, Vernarelli said.

Conditions of Father Bullock’s probation include paying all fines, not entering or being found near the Bush River Book Store and completing all programs at St. Luke Institute, an international treatment center for Catholic men and women in ministry, Vernarelli said.

“Upon learning of the incident, the archdiocese immediately removed his faculties to function as priest,” Sean Caine, an archdiocesan spokesman, said in an email to the Catholic Review. “The decision has been made that he will not return to active ministry.”

The Catholic Review reported in January that Father Joseph F. Barr, pastor of Immaculate Conception, wrote in a Jan. 22 letter to parishioners that Father Bullock had been removed from ministry and no longer resides at the parish rectory.

“The archdiocese has instructed Father Bullock to undergo a psychological evaluation,” Father Barr wrote in his letter to parishioners. “His removal from ministry is indefinite and means that he is not permitted to celebrate Mass publicly or present himself in any way as a priest.”

Before being assigned to Immaculate Conception in July 2010, Father Bullock served at St. John the Evangelist in Severna Park. He was ordained by Cardinal William H. Keeler in June 2006, at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Homeland. He is a lifelong parishioner of St. Clare in Essex.

Mark B. Martin, Father Bullock’s attorney, did not respond to calls for comment.

Copyright (c) Aug. 28, 2012

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.