Essex Da's Office Forced to Withdraw Sdp Petition
Essex District Attorney's Office
October 2, 2015
The Essex District Attorney’s Office today withdrew its petition to hold Ronald H. Paquin as a sexually dangerous person. Neither of the experts who examined him found him “sexually dangerous,” therefore, the District Attorney’s Office must, by law, withdraw its petition.
“Our contention is that Mr. Paquin poses a danger to the community,” District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said. “Unfortunately, we have no further legal options available to hold Mr. Paquin.”
Paquin, a former priest in Haverhill, pleaded guilty to 3 counts of rape of a child in December of 2002 and was sentenced to 12-15 years in state prison. The rapes took place in Haverhill between 1989 and 1992, beginning when the victim was 12 years old.
Under Massachusetts General Law Chapter 123A, Section 1, the Commonwealth may file a civil commitment petition to hold a person believed to be sexually dangerous upon completion of their prison term. A Judge must find probable cause after which the person is evaluated by two independent “qualified examiners.” If at least one of the qualified examiners finds the person sexually dangerous, the Commonwealth can proceed to a trial at which it must prove that the defendant meets the criteria for sexually dangerousness beyond a reasonable doubt.
A probable cause hearing was held over the course of two day in early August, at which Essex Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Kirshenbaum presented testimony from Dr. Gregg Belle, a forensic psychologist specializing in sex offenders. Judge James Lang found probable cause on August 20, 2015. Paquin was then evaluated by two qualified examiners. Neither of them found him sexually dangerous, therefore the Commonwealth must withdraw its petition and Paquin will be released.
Paquin is represented by Attorney David Erickson.