Fugitive New Mexico priest awaits trial behind bars for sexual abuse allegations – National

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A former New Mexico priest who fled the U.S. a long time in the past amid allegations of kid intercourse abuse will await trial behind bars, a federal decide determined Tuesday, as his accusers within the viewers applauded.

Defence legal professional Samuel Winder argued in court docket that Arthur Perrault was not a flight danger as he had no passport, no household and no technique of leaving the nation. However prosecutors described him as a hazard to the neighborhood who fled earlier than.

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“He’s identified to govern and achieve the belief of individuals,” federal Prosecutor Sean Sullivan advised U.S. Justice of the Peace Decide Karen Molzen. “Actually, a jail setting is the most effective setting for the defendant to be.”

Molzen agreed and known as Perrault a “very charming man” who as soon as fled to a rustic that didn’t have an extradition treaty with the U.S.

Courtroom paperwork filed late final week mentioned victims described Perrault showering them with presents and meals earlier than abusing them. Additionally they described Perrault as somebody who smoked pipes and wore silk underwear.

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The paperwork mentioned the Connecticut-born Perrault additionally as soon as wrote an apology letter to the mother and father of 1 sufferer in 1971 and blamed his actions on most cancers, which prosecutors mentioned he was by no means recognized with.

Perrault was extradited to New Mexico final week from Morocco in reference to sexual abuse instances which are mentioned to have taken place between 1991 and 1992 at Kirtland Air Pressure Base and Santa Fe Nationwide Cemetery.

The previous Catholic priest within the Archdiocese of Santa Fe and a former Air Pressure chaplain has been charged in a federal indictment with seven counts of aggravated sexual abuse and abusive sexual contact.

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Perrault pleaded not responsible in his first court docket look Friday. He additionally advised a U.S. Justice of the Peace decide he’d had a stroke three years in the past, was deaf in a single ear, and had hassle strolling.

In court docket Tuesday, a frail Perrault repeatedly requested a decide and legal professionals to talk up and wanted headphones to take heed to arguments.

Winder, his legal professional, mentioned he had not seen all of the proof within the case. However he cautioned that Perrault’s well being remained fragile. “He doesn’t have any relations. He can’t hear very properly,” Winder mentioned.

Winder instructed that he could ask a federal decide to rethink the choice to carry Perrault till his trial and as a substitute have he assigned to a midway home.


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After the detention listening to, Perrault’s accusers and their households – some who had been seen crying – left with out speaking to reporters.

Perrault, a one-time pastor at St. Bernadette parish in Albuquerque, is certainly one of many monks despatched to New Mexico within the 1960s from across the nation for therapy involving pedophilia.

Victims, legal professionals and church paperwork present the monks had been later assigned to parishes and colleges throughout New Mexico – particularly in Native American and Hispanic communities.

Perrault vanished in 1992, simply days earlier than an legal professional filed two lawsuits towards the archdiocese alleging Perrault had sexually assaulted seven youngsters at his parish.


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The FBI mentioned Perrault first fled to Canada after which to Tangier, Morocco, the place he labored till final yr at an English-language college for youngsters.

Perrault denied abusing youngsters in a handwritten letter despatched in November 2016 to a decide associated to sexual abuse lawsuits in Albuquerque. Perrault mentioned his property included cash from navy retirement and Social Safety.

Church data launched final yr by a New Mexico decide present Perrault can be accused in state lawsuits of sexually abusing at the least 38 boys in different instances.

Data additionally present Perrault was despatched in 1965 to Servants of the Paraclete – a spiritual order that ran a therapy centre for pedophile monks in Jemez Springs, New Mexico – after he was accused of molesting younger males whereas serving in Connecticut.

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