HAVERHILL — Former Haverhill priest Ronald Paquin is being held on $50,000 cash bail after being charged in Maine with multiple counts of gross sexual misconduct involving young boys.
A judge in Biddeford District Court in Maine set that bail amount and ordered that no one other than Paquin be allowed to raise the bail.
Police in Kennebunkport, Maine, said the criminal acts took place at seasonal locations in Kennebunkport in the mid-to-late 1980s. The male victims' ages were 11 and 14 when Paquin began his inappropriate criminal conduct, police said.
On Feb. 6, a York County grand jury indicted Paquin, 74, on 13 counts of gross sexual misconduct, class A, and 16 counts of gross sexual misconduct, class B.
Paquin was arrested Feb. 8 in Boston on a warrant from Maine and on Feb. 10 he was held without bail in Roxbury District Court, where he waived extradition proceedings. He was subsequently taken to Maine to face charges there.
According to officials with the York County Court, Paquin appeared before District Court Judge Daniel Driscoll on Friday via a video link from York County Jail in Alfred, Maine. Paquin, who was represented at the hearing by Attorney Randall Bates, entered a not guilty plea.
Although investigators suspected Paquin was targeting victims for decades, by the time of his arrest in Malden in May 2002, only one case in which he was accused of sexual molestation fell within the state’s statute of limitations.
At the time, the statue of limitations allowed for prosecution 15 years after the victim’s 16th birthday.
That victim, a former altar boy at St. John the Baptist Church in Haverhill who was then in his 20s and married to a woman in a ceremony officiated by Paquin, said Paquin tricked him into a three-year sexual relationship, suggesting their acts were part of a study Paquin was conducting into the sexuality of young boys.
Prosecutors accused Paquin of raping the altar boy in Haverhill and New Hampshire, Maine, Florida and Virginia. They credited the strength of the victim’s testimony for Paquin’s decision to plead guilty.
Paquin was dismissed as a member of the clergy by the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston in 2004.
A complete report will appear in Wednesday's Eagle-Tribune.