Naugatuck Police Seek Information On Disgraced Priest Arther Perrault's 1965 Stint At Former St. Francis School
By Josh Kovner
October 16, 2018
|This 1989 file photo shows Father Arthur Perrault in Albuquerque, N.M. Perrault, who fled the U.S. decades ago amid allegations of child sex abuse|
With fugitive priest Arthur Perrault jailed in New Mexico on aggravated sexual abuse charges, Naugatuck police are now looking into the accused pedophile’s brief tenure at the former St. Francis Parochial School, where he was assigned for a few months in 1965.
Perrault, 80, who was born in Connecticut, left St. Francis abruptly in 1965, and court records say he next surfaced at a small compound, Via Coeli, in Jemez Springs, N.M., where fallen priests were sent by the church for treatment of pedophilia.
A string of lawsuits say he would go on to sexually abuse at least 38 boys in New Mexico. Citing court records, The Associated Press reported that Perrault was accused of having inappropriate talks with boys at St. Francis after hours, including in his car. He has not been charged with committing a crime while at St. Francis.
In a news release on Tuesday, Naugatuck police Lt. Bryan Cammarata said officers would like to speak with alumni who attended St. Francis in 1965, and who can describe what the “atmosphere and the culture of student life was like during this time frame.”
Detective Sgt. Mark Pettinicchi is listed as the contact person, and discussions with the police would be confidential.
Cammarata said the department would welcome assistance from the media in locating and alerting alumni.
The school, known in later years as the St. Francis — St. Hedwig School, closed earlier this year.
Perrault disappeared in 1992 from Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, where he’d been chaplain. He dropped out of sight right before one of several lawsuits were filed accusing him of molesting boys at his parish, and he remained a fugitive for 26 years.
He was extradited last month from Morocco, where he was teaching at an English-language school for children, The Associated Press reported. Perrault was charged with seven felony counts of sexual abuse that law officers said occurred at Kirtland and at a cemetery in Santa Fe. Saying he was a risk to flee again, federal prosecutors sought pre-trial detention.