Sunday, May 22, 2016
BY MICHAEL DOOLING
A new assistant pastor, Rev. Arthur J. Perrault, arrived at St. Francis Parish in Naugatuck in September 1965.
Two weeks ago, Perrault, an accused pedophile, was found living in Morocco. He had fled his New Mexico parish in 1992 after lawsuits alleging sexual abuse were filed against him and the Archdiocese of Santa Fe.
The news rattled memories among those who knew the priest in Naugatuck. Perrault’s brief stint there, and his abrupt departure within two months, went almost unnoticed, except by a group of eighth-grade boys who feared him.
Father Perrault brought the boys of the class of 1966, who wore white shirts and blue ties monogrammed “SFS,” to dimly lit and secluded areas in the church, or to the principal’s office after school when the hallways and classrooms were empty.
These meetings were always one-on-one. Word on the playground before school, and at recess, was that “Father Art” was having “The Talk” with every boy in class about how babies are made.
There they were, awkwardly alone, face-to-face with a veritable stranger who was determined to educate them about the subject, or least part of the subject. Perrault was less descriptive of sperm and egg and concentrated more on describing the mechanics and hydraulics of the male anatomy.
Then the priest inquired how knowledgeable each boy was, how familiar he was with his own body, and what he had experienced, said class members who recall the uncomfortable conversations.
The boys told no one beyond their friends — no teachers, no adults, no parents. It was just too embarrassing, they decided.
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