Maine high court upholds sex crime convictions of defrocked priest

Press Herald

April 23, 2020

By Matt Byrne

The justices affirm 10 of the 11 convictions against Ronald Paquin, 77, a former Catholic priest from Massachusetts, leaving his 16-year prison sentence unchanged.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Thursday upheld all but one of the 11 convictions of a former priest who is serving 16 years in prison for sexually assaulting a boy during multiple vacations to Maine in the 1980s.

Ronald Paquin, now 77, was found guilty in 2018 of 11 counts of gross sexual misconduct. A York County jury acquitted him of similar charges related to a second boy. A judge sentenced him last year to 20 years in prison with all but 16 years suspended.

Paquin was one of the priests exposed in the early 2000s by a sweeping Boston Globe investigation into clergy sex abuse. He pleaded guilty in 2002 in Massachusetts to repeatedly raping an altar boy between 1989 and 1992, beginning when the victim was 12.

He spent more than decade in prison and was defrocked in 2004. Once he was released, he was indicted on criminal charges in Maine related to conduct that occurred between 1985 and 1988 in Kennebunkport. Paquin was arrested in 2017.

Paquin’s attorneys focused on two main issues in their appeal: That Paquin’s defense attorneys did not have access to the victim’s criminal history information at trial, and argued that the trial judge was wrong not to compel the state to turn over that information. Another issue dealt with whether two of the 11 counts Paquin faced violated the constitutional protection against double jeopardy.

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