A former associate pastor at St. John the Baptist Church in Haverhill was indicted Monday by a York County, Maine, grand jury on 29 counts of gross sexual misconduct dating back to the late 1980s.
The indictment alleges Ronald H. Paquin, 74, abused two children, ages 11 and 14, at seasonal locations in Kennebunkport, Maine. He will be charged with 13 counts of gross sexual misconduct, class A, and 16 counts of gross sexual misconduct, class B, Kennebunkport Police Chief Craig A. Sanford told WHAV.
“With the help of two courageous victims and the hard work of a dedicated police investigator and District Attorney, the Kennebunkport Police Department presented evidence to the grand jury of York County that resulted in the indictment,” the chief said. “I am glad that we were able to present a case that hopefully brings the victims some type of peace in their future and holds the offender accountable for these horrific crimes,” he added.
A warrant will be issued for Paquin’s arrest after which he will be returned to Maine for eventual court proceedings.
During October, 2015, Essex District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett said he was forced to withdraw his petition to keep Paquin in prison as a “sexually dangerous person” because experts who examined the former priest could not conclude the former priest poses a threat.
“Our contention is that Mr. Paquin poses a danger to the community,” Blodgett said then. “Unfortunately, we have no further legal options available to hold Mr. Paquin.”
Blodgett’s office said this morning his office was not officially notified of the Maine indictment.
Paquin pleaded guilty to three counts of rape of a child in December, 2002, and was sentenced to 12 to 15 years in state prison. The rapes took place in Haverhill between 1989 and 1992, beginning when the victim was 12 years old.
A probable cause hearing took place over the course of two day in early August, 2015. Essex Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Kirshenbaum presented testimony from Gregg Belle, a forensic psychologist specializing in sex offenders. Judge James Lang found probable cause, and Paquin was then evaluated by two qualified examiners. Neither of them found him sexually dangerous.
Paquin, who was represented then by Attorney David Erickson, was the first priest to admit guilt in a molestation case during the Boston Archdiocese’ sex abuse scandal. Paquin began his career at St. Monica’s Church, Methuen, in 1973.