Molesting NH Priest Defrocked by Pope

By Mark Hayward
Union Leader
August 13, 2005

MANCHESTER — Roman Catholic priest Paul L. Aube, who gave special crucifixes to boys he sexually assaulted, has been defrocked by Pope Benedict XVI, church officials announced yesterday.


Aube is the second diocesan priest to lose his collar in light of the priest sex-abuse scandal in New Hampshire. The decision means Aube is no longer bound to the obligations of the priesthood, cannot act as a priest and has been returned to the lay state, the diocese said in a press release.

In 1994, Bishop Leo E. O'Neil permanently removed Aube from ministry, but Aube still kept his status as priest until the Vatican's action, which took place on May 20.

"He was one of the bad ones. He was one of the targets of the Attorney General's investigation," said Peter Hutchins, a Manchester lawyer who sucessfully sued the Manchester diocese on behalf of dozens of clients.

Four of his clients — three males and one female — were abused by Aube, Hutchins said.

"He was more of a groomer — get to know the kid — vs. someone who would just grab them," Hutchins said.

Aube had assignments in St. Mary in Claremont, Guardian Angels in Berlin, Holy Rosary in Rochester, Elliot Hospital and Concord Hospital.

Aube admitted to abusing 15 children or young adults while serving in parishes between 1970 to 1981.

In Berlin, he gave special crucifixes to his victims and said they were members of his inner circle. On the road to Indiana, he held what one of four boys described as a "rape fest." In Nashua, police found him engaging in sexual contact with a teenager, an embarassing situation that Aube later said former Bishop Odore Gendron handled with a telephone call to the police chief.

Efforts to reach Aube yesterday were unsuccessful. The Diocese would say no more than the one-paragraph statement it issued, and Aube does not have a telephone listing in New Hampshire.

But his former lawyer, Robert McDaniel, said Aube's cooperation with the Attorney General's criminal investigation was an important factor in forcing the Diocese to reach a settlement with prosecutors. Aube received partial immunity for his cooperation.

McDaniel said he has had no contact with Aube since representing him in the case. He described him as well educated, bilingual in French and English and well read.

"I found him to be an articulate and sort of a kindly guy," McDaniel said.

Aube also did something unusual: he talked to the press. In a Februrary 2003 interview with the Associated Press, Aube said he told his superiors about his sexual contact with children and that he never wanted to work with youth again. But they insisted he remain in youth ministry.

But victims and others challenged Aube's story. And sources were quoted saying that Aube threatened to sue O'Neil if he was not given a parish assignment.

In the Associated Press story, Aube said he was living in a camper and received $750 a month stipend from the church. It's uncertain what effect the Vatican's action has on the stipend.

Aube is the second New Hampshire priest to be defrocked, behind Ronald E. Corriveau in March.

Last spring, the diocese said the Vatican is reviewing 27 cases of New Hampshire priests credibly accused of abusing minors. Some have received lesser penalties that barred them from ministry but kept them in the priesthood.

Accused priests awaiting a decision remain on administrative leave and are barred from ministry while the Vatican rules on the charges and whatpenalty, if any, to impose, diocesan officials said. If Vatican officials find the complaint not credible, the priest may be returned to ministry.


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