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Oct 3, 2015 4:21 PM

Ex-priest in prison over 10 years for rape to be freed

The Associated Press

SALEM, Mass. — A former Roman Catholic priest who spent more than a decade in a Massachusetts prison for raping an altar boy will be freed after prosecutors withdrew a civil petition to have him committed as a sexually dangerous person.

Prosecutor Jonathan Blodgett says Friday he had no choice but to withdraw the petition under state law because experts who examined Ronald Paquin determined he was no longer sexually dangerous.

Now 72, Paquin was a central figure in the Boston Archdiocese's sex abuse scandal. He pleaded guilty in 2002 to child rape and has served a 12-to-15 year sentence.

Paquin admitted to molesting a boy over three years while assigned to a Haverhill, Massachusetts, parish.

According to the Eagle-Tribune, Paquin was suspected of targeting victims for decades, but at the time of his arrest only one case fell within the state's statute of limitations.

That victim, a former St. John the Baptist altar boy then in his 20s, said Paquin tricked him into a three-year sexual relationship by suggesting their acts together were part of a study he was conducting.

Prosecutors accused Paquin of orally raping the altar boy in Haverhill and New Hampshire, Maine, Florida and Virginia, and they credited the strength of his testimony for Paquin's decision to plead guilty.

It wasn't clear when he would be freed; his attorney didn't immediately return a call for comment, according to the AP.


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