By William J. Kole
BOSTON (AP) — Marky Mark doesn’t want a black mark any longer.
Actor Mark Wahlberg is asking Massachusetts for a pardon for assaults he committed in 1988 when he was a troubled teenager in Boston, saying 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 and a star of movies including “The Departed” and “The Gambler,” set to open in theaters Dec. 19, filed a pardon application with state officials Nov. 26. New England Cable News first reported on the application Thursday.
In 1988, when Wahlberg was 16, he hit Thanh Lam, a Vietnamese resident, in 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 says. He punched another man, Hoa Trinh, also Vietnamese, in the face while trying to avoid police, the document says, rendering Trinh partially blind. It was also reported he used racial slurs against both men.
Wahlberg says in the application that he was high on marijuana and narcotics at the time, and police caught him with a small amount of pot. He also apologized for his actions.
He ended up being convicted as an adult of assault and other charges, and he was sentenced to three months in jail. He said he was released after serving about 45 days.
Wahlberg, 43, says in the application that he turned his life around and became a successful music artist, actor, and film and television producer. He also notes 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,” Wahlberg says 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,” he says.
To get a pardon, the Massachusetts Parole Board would have to review Wahlberg’s case and make a recommendation to the governor, who has the ultimate authority to grant pardons.
Calls to the board’s offices went unanswered late Thursday.
Pardons rarely are issued in Massachusetts.
Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick, who’s winding up eight years in office, last month recommended four pardons and one commutation — his first since taking office. They must still be approved by the Governor’s Council.
His predecessor, Republican Mitt Romney, recommended none. If Wahlberg is pardoned, it almost certainly would fall to Republican Gov.-elect Charlie Baker to sign off. (end)