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Trial Begins in Maine for Ex-Priest Facing 31 Sex Abuse Charges

Prosecutors say Paquin assaulted two boys between 1985 and 1988 in Kennebunkport

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.

Assistant District Attorney Justina McGettigan said the evidence would show Paquin gave the boys alcohol, asked them to perform sex acts on him, and performed sex acts on them on several occasions.

"All of this was while the defendant was a religious figure in their lives," McGettigan said.

The alleged victim who testified, now in his late 40s, told the jury that Paquin began taking an interest in him when he was 12 years old and continued through his teenage years. The sexual assaults took place at several locations, including a motel and a campground in Kennebunkport, he said.

He said the priest took him on trips to Hawaii, Orlando, and even a cruise to Mexico. The alleged victim said eventually their time together turned physical.

"He would tell dirty jokes. He would tell me I wanted something more from him," the alleged victim remembered, his hands and voice shaking throughout his testimony.

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.

The second alleged victim in the case is expected to testify Tuesday.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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