Mark Wahlberg applies to have 1988 assault erased

FILE - In this Nov. 10, 2014 file photo, Mark Wahlberg arrives at the 2014 AFI Fest - "The Gambler," in Los Angeles. Wahlberg is asking Massachusetts for a pardon for an assault he committed in 1988 when he was a troubled teenager in Boston. Wahlberg’s application with the Massachusetts Parole Board says he isn’t the same person he was 26 years ago and his past convictions are still affecting his life. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)
Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP
Mark Wahlberg at the 2014 AFI Fest.

Actor Mark Wahlberg has long said he regrets what he did to Thanh Lam in 1988, beating the Vietnamese man with a 5-foot stick while yelling slurs at him. Now, Wahlberg would like to erase the incident altogether.

The onetime ruffian from Dorchester has applied to the Massachusetts Board of Pardons to have the violent assault conviction removed from his record. The request was first reported Thursday by NECN.

At issue is a well-publicized incident that took place on the night of April 8, 1988, when Wahlberg, now one of Hollywood’s most successful actors and producers, was 16 and looking for trouble. According to police, the youngest of Alma Wahlberg’s nine children tried to steal two cases of beer from Lam outside a convenience store on Dorchester Avenue.


Wahlberg hit Lam over the head with a wooden stick and, according to police, called his victim a string of racial slurs. He was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and possession of a controlled substance, and served 45 days of a 90-day sentence at the Deer Island House of Correction.

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“Since that time, I have dedicated myself to becoming a better person and citizen so that I can be a role model to my children and others,” Wahlberg states in the application filed with the Board of Pardons.

Wahlberg also mentions the work of his charity, the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation, and his support of the Dorchester Boys and Girls Club and his habit of attending church almost every day.

“I have not engaged in philanthropic efforts in order to make people forget about my past,” he states. “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.”

He acknowledges that a pardon would be helpful as he (and his brothers) continue to grow their restaurant business. The family recently announced plans to open 27 more locations of their Wahlburgers chain.


“Receiving a pardon would be a formal recognition that I am not the same person that I was on the night of April 8, 1988,” Wahlberg says in the application. “It would be formal recognition that someone like me can receive official public redemption if he devotes himself to personal improvement and a life of good works.”

More coverage:

Document: Mark Wahlberg’s pardon petition

Wahlburgers cooks up ambitious expansion plan