Former Priest Who Raped Boy to Be Released from Prison
By Adam Swift
October 2, 2015
On Friday, the Essex County District Attorney’s office in Salem withdrew its petition to have a former Roman Catholic Priest classified as a sexually dangerous predator in an effort to keep him confined in prison.
Ronald Paquin, now 72, pleaded guilty in 2002 to sexually assaulting a 12-year-old altar boy at a Haverhill church between the years of 1989 and 1992, beginning when the victim was 12 years old.
The Essex County prosecutors attempted to keep Paquin confined by having him classified as a sexual dangerous predator, but was forced to withdraw the petition when the experts who examined Paquin found him not to be sexually dangerous.
“Our contention is that Mr. Paquin poses a danger to the community,” Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said. “Unfortunately, we have no further legal options available to hold Mr. Paquin.”
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, according to Blodgett’s office.
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. 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, according to the DA’s office.
Paquin was represented by Attorney David Erickson.