Sex Assault Trial Against Former Haverhill Priest Paquin Begins in Maine

Ronald H. Paquin 2017 booking photo (Courtesy of York County Jail, Maine)

A former Haverhill altar boy testified against Ronald Paquin (seen in a York County Jail booking photo) Monday in Alfred, Maine. (Courtesy photograph)

A former altar boy took the stand in Alfred, Maine, Monday during the first day of the trial of defrocked Haverhill priest Ronald Paquin, who stands accused of sexually abusing two boys during trips to Maine in 1980s.

According to the Portland Press Herald, the witness told the jury Paquin befriended him when he served as an altar boy and took religious education classes at St. John the Baptist Church in Haverhill’s Riverside neighborhood. The man told jurors Paquin, now 76, took him out for meals and let him drive his car without a license.

“He tried to be like a pal,” the man testified, according to the Press Herald. “He said no one would care for me as he does.”

Sexual contact between the boy and former priest allegedly took place at a motel and campground in Kennebunkport, Maine, it was revealed Monday. The alleged abuse began when the man was 12 or 13 and continued into his teen years.

As WHAV previously reported, Paquin was indicted in February 2017 by a York County, Maine, grand jury on 29 counts of gross sexual misconduct dating back to the late 1980s.

Highlighted in the movie “Spotlight,” Paquin was the first priest to admit guilt in a molestation case during the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal. 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. He was released in 2015 and taken into custody in Maine last year.

Paquin began his career at Methuen’s St. Monica’s Church in 1973.