Mich. Prosecutor: Fugitive Priest Captured

Associated Press, carried in Pioneer Press
February 9, 2006

BAY CITY, Mich. - A Catholic priest sought for more than seven years in Michigan child sex-abuse cases was captured in Colombia and returned to the U.S. for trial, authorities said.

John Steven Rabideau, 44, was arrested Saturday as he tried to enter the country from Ecuador, and is now being held in a jail in Miami-Dade County, Fla., said Bay County Prosecutor Joseph K. Sheeran. He is set to be returned to Michigan next week.

He will be tried on charges that he had sexual contact with three boys in 1985 and 1987, Sheeran said. The boys, now adults, reported the incidents in 1998, and an arrest warrant was issued then.

Rabideau, reached at the Florida jail, declined to comment. "I probably shouldn't talk to you until I talk to a lawyer," he told The Associated Press on Thursday before the phone line went dead.

Sheeran said Rabideau's current status as a priest wasn't known but he had been active in 2004 in the Philippines.

In the mid- to late 1980s, Rabideau was a student in Boston and was connected to a Catholic missionary order. He was visiting relatives in Williams Township at the time of the reported offenses.

Sheeran said Rabideau will face one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. He also will face six counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, each of which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years.


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