No Bail for Priest in Sex-abuse Case
By Jill Harmacinski
February 11, 2017
Defrocked and formerly jailed ex-priest Ronald Paquin, who was assigned to parishes in Haverhill and Methuen, will be held without bail on a fugitive from justice charge until late next week.
Paquin, 74, was arrested on Wednesday in Boston after a grand jury in York County, Maine, handed down an indictment on 29 new sexual abuse and misconduct charges against him.
Friday at his arraignment in Roxbury District Court, Paquin was held without bail and waived rendition proceedings.
He will return to Roxbury District Court on Thursday, Feb. 16, when he is likely to be picked up by Maine authorities, said Jake Wark, spokesperson for Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley.
Paquin then faces arraignment in York County on the 29 new charges in Maine, which include 13 counts of gross sexual misconduct, class A, and 16 counts of gross sexual misconduct, class B.
Kennebunkport police said the criminal acts took place in the late 1980s at seasonal locations in Kennebunkport.
The victims, both males, were 11 and 14 when Paquin began sexually assaulting them, police said.
Police said that due to the severity of the charges and the ages of the victims, Maine’s statute of limitations allows such cases to move forward at any time.
One of the earliest clergy members jailed in the sexual abuse scandal of the Boston Archdiocese, Paquin acknowledged the seduction and sexual abuse of teenage boys, spanning four decades, including while he served at St. John the Baptist Church in Haverhill from 1981 to 1990, and St. Monica Church in Methuen from 1974 to 1980.
On Wednesday, Paquin was arrested at 170 Morton St. in Jamaica Plain, which is the address for the Lemuel Shattuck Hospital.
Behind bars until fall 2015
In 2003, after pleading guilty to raping and molesting an altar boy in Haverhill as many as 50 times from 1989 to 1992, Paquin was sentenced to 12 to 15 years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction in Walpole.
He was released from prison in October 2015.
Although investigators said Paquin was suspected of targeting victims for decades, by the time of his arrest in Malden in May 2002, only one case in which he was accused of sexual molestation fell within the state’s statute of limitations.
At the time, the statue of limitations allowed for prosecution 15 years after the victim’s 16th birthday.
That victim, the former St. John the Baptist altar boy who was then in his 20s and married to a woman he wedded in a ceremony officiated by Paquin, said Paquin tricked him into a three-year sexual relationship, suggesting their acts were part of a study Paquin was conducting into the sexuality of young boys.
Prosecutors accused Paquin of orally raping the altar boy in Haverhill and New Hampshire, Maine, Florida and Virginia. They credited the strength of the victim’s testimony for Paquin’s decision to plead guilty.
Paquin was dismissed as a member of the clergy by the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston in 2004.
Paquin also was named in 24 civil lawsuits alleging he sexually abused other children serving at churches in Methuen and Haverhill during the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s.
One of those cases was a wrongful death suit filed by a Haverhill couple whose teenage son was killed in a car crash with Paquin at the wheel.
Reached Friday, Kennebunkport Police Chief Craig Sanford said it is unclear when Paquin will be arraigned in Maine on the new charges.
Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.