Former Boston Priest Pleads Not Guilty to Maine Sex Abuse Charges
By Edward D. Murphy
Portland Press Herald
February 17, 2017
Ronald Paquin, who was a key figure in the Boston Catholic Church scandal, is charged with 29 counts involving two boys he brought to Kennebunk in the 1980s.
|Randall Bates, left, represented former Boston priest and convicted child molester Ronald Paquin on Friday in Biddeford District Court during Paquin's initial hearing by video on 29 charges of sexual assault on two boys in the 1980s. Staff photo by Edward D. Murphy/Staff Writer|
A former priest from Boston accused of molesting two boys repeatedly in Kennebunk three decades ago entered a plea of not guilty Friday.
Ronald Paquin, who was a key figure in the Boston Roman Catholic Church sex abuse scandal, is charged with 29 counts of sexual abuse in Maine for acts he allegedly committed between 1985 and 1988.
Dressed in an orange shirt and yellow prison jumpsuit, Paquin appeared on a video link from York County Jail in Alfred early Friday afternoon. The 74-year-old former Catholic priest walked with the aid of a cane and remained silent during the brief hearing.
He conferred with his temporary attorney, Randall Bates, after District Court Judge Daniel Driscoll ordered him held on $50,000 bail, but the microphone on the video link was turned off so the nature of their discussion could not be heard.
Driscoll also ordered Paquin to surrender his passport and driver’s license, told him to stay away from the alleged victims and have no contact with anyone under the age of 18. Driscoll also agreed with the state’s request for a “no third-party” bail, meaning any bail would have to come from Paquin’s own funds and could not be posted for him by someone else.
Bates represented Paquin only during Friday’s initial court appearance. He told Driscoll that he submitted a list of lawyers who could be appointed to represent Paquin.
“The list is short” because of the nature of the charges, Bates said, adding that he had spoken with another attorney, Heather Gonzalez, about taking the case and she had agreed.
Driscoll then appointed Gonzalez as Paquin’s lawyer. She is with the Portland law firm Strike, Gonzales, Butler Bailey and was not present in court Friday. A message left for her Friday afternoon wasn’t returned.
Paquin’s next court date is scheduled for June 8.
It’s unlikely that Paquin will be able to post bail. Massachusetts authorities said they believe that Paquin has been living in a homeless shelter in Boston since being released from prison in 2015 following a 2002 conviction for raping a boy in Haverhill, Massachusetts, from 1989 to 1992. After he was released from prison, two medical specialists said Paquin, 72 at the time, no longer met the criteria to be considered sexually dangerous, according to The Boston Globe.
The paper also said court records indicated that after his release, Paquin would seek treatment in either New York or Massachusetts and eventually move to Maine, where he would also seek sex offender treatment.
He was arrested Feb. 8 in Boston after Kennebunk police obtained an arrest warrant. York County District Attorney Kathryn Slattery said she didn’t know when Paquin was brought from Massachusetts to Maine.
Psychologists have said that Paquin admitted abusing 14 boys in Massachusetts, although his conviction involved only one boy.
In the Maine case, Paquin was indicted this month for allegedly abusing two boys whom he brought to Kennebunk multiple times. Kennebunk police opened an investigation in 2011 after one of the alleged victims went to the Maine attorney general to accuse Paquin of abusing him and the case was referred to local authorities.
Keith Townsend, who now lives in New Hampshire, told The Boston Globe that he was one of the victims in the Maine indictment. Townsend said he told Maine authorities about Paquin when he heard that the former priest was being released from prison. He told the Globe that Paquin began abusing him when he was 8 or 9 years old, both in Massachusetts and at a camp in Kennebunk.
Police have released few details on the current case, but said Paquin is accused of bringing the boys to Kennebunk for short visits and sexually abusing them while here.
Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston lawyer who represented dozens of victims of sexual abuse by priests in Massachusetts, said sexual predators often try to befriend parents so they will be permitted to take their children away for short visits out of state.
Paquin’s case was one of those featured in the Academy Award-winning film “Spotlight,” about the Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation of sexual abuse of children by priests and the Boston Archdiocese’s efforts to cover it up by moving predatory priests from one parish to another.
Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at: