Pedophile Freed Amid Protest
By O’Ryan Johnson
October 3, 2015
|TIME SERVED: Ronald H. Paquin is shown under escort of Massachusetts state troopers. The ex-priest will be released after it was determined he is no longer dangerous.|
Defrocked pedophile priest Ronald H. Paquin, who admitted to sexually abusing boys throughout his two decades as a pastor, has been sprung from a state mental hospital over the protests of prosecutors who say the convicted child predator is still a danger to the community.
Two taxpayer-funded independent psychologists found that Paquin, 72, is no longer sexually dangerous because of his age and health problems. Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, who tried to have the convicted rapist civilly committed, said he remains a threat.
“Our contention is that Mr. Paquin poses a danger to the community,” Blodgett said. “Unfortunately, we have no further legal options available to hold Mr. Paquin.”
Paquin, who will not be under any parole or probation supervision when he is released, pleaded guilty to three counts of rape of a child in December 2002 and was sentenced to 12 to 15 years in state prison. The rapes took place in Haverhill between 1989 and 1992, beginning when the victim was 12.
In finding Paquin no longer posed a threat, psychologist Robert H. Joss wrote a 33-page report concluding that his age, heart and prostate problems — and the fact that he is no longer a priest — will keep him in check.
“Mr. Paquin is at an age where the risk of sexually re-offending is substantially diminished,” he wrote. “Mr. Paquin was in the community for a period between 1993 and 2002 without being complained of for sexual misconduct.”
A second psychologist, Mark Schaefer, acknowledged that Paquin was investigated for suspicion that he was grooming a younger inmate for sex, but said he found no evidence of a relationship between them. Schaefer said Paquin no longer meets the statutory criteria for a sexually dangerous person.
“Certainly, Mr. Paquin’s multiple victims and his problems in progressing in treatment due to minimization and denial of certain acts which he committed, raise some concerns,” Schaefer wrote. “Mr. Paquin is almost 73 years of age and no longer a priest. His ability to draw close to his victims and then take advantage of them was linked to his position of authority with teenage boys.”
According to the court filings, Paquin began abusing boys as an assistant pastor in 1972 at St. Rita’s Parish in Haverhill. He continued throughout a handful of transfers and reassignments until he was finally forced to retire in 1990, the reports state.
Joseph Parker, who spoke to the Herald about his abuse at the hands of Paquin in 2002, said yesterday that in the years since the Boston archdiocese and Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley have helped get him back on his feet.
“I’ve done a tremendous amount of work since that time. ... and been the beneficiary of truly magnanimous people and things that have come about to help me through the whole process,” Parker said. “It’s a very different part of my life now than it was then. I’ve really been able to, as much as one can, to minimize it. It’s now a small part of my life rather than the huge monster it used to be.”
He said he and Paquin corresponded once while the ex-priest was jailed.
“It was a letter from me to him explaining that I was a very different person,” Parker said. “It was my way of letting his control over me go away. I received a lovely letter of apology in return from him explaining why he was the way he was and did the things he did. It was a huge part of my healing.
“People who abuse children get let out of prison every day,” he said. “I think it’s time we all move on to a better place ... I forgive him. I honestly forgive him.”