The Fall


Sunday, May 22, 2016

A priest charmed his flock, but victims say he had a dark secret


Editor’s note: Part 2 of a two-part report about the Rev. Arthur Perrault, a Bristol native and one-time Connecticut priest from 1964-65 who decades later fled the country after multiple allegations of sexual abuse in New Mexico.

When the Rev. Arthur Perrault left St. Francis Church in Naugatuck he was sent to Via Coeli, a residential treatment facility run by the Servants of the Paraclete in Jemez Springs, N.M.

The center, outside Santa Fe, originally treated priests with emotional and addictive problems including drug dependency and alcoholism. In the 1950s, the church began to refer pedophile priests there, with increasing frequency.

The center’s history is documented in letters from its founder, who urged the church to remove such men from the priesthood, and in depositions made public after lawsuits began to be filed in New Mexico in the 1990s.

Perrault remained in New Mexico after Via Coeli. Less than a year after leaving St. Francis, Perrault became active in parish work in Albuquerque. He is mentioned, again and again, in editions of the Albuquerque Journal and the Santa Fe New Mexican from 1966 well into the 1980s: officiating at a marriage ceremony, moderating a YWCA “Girls into Women” conference on sex education, teaching religion and ethics at St. Pius X High School, running a youth choir.

The Archdiocese of Hartford officially transferred Perrault to the Archdiocese of Santa Fe in 1967 although he had been removed from Connecticut more than a year earlier.

All ties to the Archdiocese of Hartford ended in August 1967, said Maria Zone, communications director. In an email, Zone said the archdiocese could not release further information or comment about Perrault because personnel information is kept confidential.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.