Another Priest Faces Child Sex Charges

United Press International
June 9, 1994

A Catholic priest was ordered held on $50,000 cash bail in Massachusetts Thursday on charges of sexually assaulting three teenage boys before he fled to Canada 20 years ago.

The Rev. Joseph Fredette, who was arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in January, was returned to Boston from Moncton, New Brunswick, Wednesday night and turned over to Worcester police.

He pleaded innocent in Superior Court to one count of sexual assault and six counts of committing unnatural acts against the three youths while he served as executive director of a group he founded to help juvenile delinquents.

A judge set a pretrial hearing for July 11.

Fredette, 61, fled the country in 1974 as police were about to arrest him. He was indicted by a Worcester County grand jury in 1992 after being tracked down by a private detective.

Massachusetts has a six-year statute of limitations on child sex charges, but the limit is frozen if a suspect flees the state before it expires.

Fredette is one of nearly a dozen Catholic priests from Massachusetts who have been accused of sexual abuse in the past several years. The worst offender, the Rev. James Porter, pleaded guilty earlier this year to assaulting more than 30 youngsters while he served as a priest in three parishes in southeastern Massachusetts in the 1960s and early '70s.

Porter, who left the priesthood in 1974 and moved to Minnesota, is currently serving a lengthy prison term.


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