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Trial begins in Maine for ex-priest facing sex abuse charges

Defrocked Roman Catholic priest Ronald Paquin, whose trial for sexually assaulting two boys in Maine began on Monday, is seen in this booking photo provided by the York County Jail in Alfred, Maine, on Feb. 16, 2017. A jury was selected last week for the trial of Paquin. His trial on 31 counts of sexual abuse in York County was due to begin on Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. (York County Jail via AP)

ALFRED, Maine (AP) — A 74-year-old former Roman Catholic priest who pleaded guilty to raping an altar boy in Massachusetts went on trial Monday for allegedly assaulting two boys in Maine in the 1980s.

Ronald Paquin, who was defrocked in 2004, is charged with assaulting the boys between 1985 and 1988 in Kennebunkport, Maine, when the victims were 14 or younger. Court documents indicate one of them was “substantially impaired” by drugs during the assault.

Paquin, who pleaded not guilty, used a cane when he entered the courtroom on Monday, and sat between his attorneys as one of the victims testified in York County Superior Court.

The man told jurors Paquin took him out for meals, let him drive his car without a license and took him on trips, the Portland Press Herald reported .

The abuse allegedly began when the man was as young as 12 or 13 years old and continued through his teenage years. The sexual assaults took place at several locations, including a motel and a campground in Kennebunkport, the man said.

Jurors who were selected last week were asked a series of questions including whether they watched the movie “Spotlight” about the Boston Globe’s reporting on the clergy abuse scandal.

Paquin, who was featured in the movie, was a central figure in the scandal that enveloped the Boston archdiocese. He spent more than a decade in a Massachusetts prison for sexually assaulting an altar boy.

He was released in 2015, and was taken into custody in Maine last year.

The Boston Globe reported Paquin admitted to medical evaluators that he abused at least 14 boys and said he was also abused as a child.

Other allegations against him have prompted civil settlements, but no other criminal convictions. In Maine, charges were made possible because the statute of limitations for sex crimes against a child younger than 16 was eliminated in 1999.

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Information from: Portland Press Herald, http://www.pressherald.com

Copyright © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.



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