Priest to testify against Boston Archdiocese

Reuters, Jan. 1, 2003

BOSTON, Massachusetts (Reuters) — A priest sentenced to prison for 12 to 15 years on child rape charges is prepared to testify against the Archdiocese of Boston in pending clergy sexual abuse claims against the church, the Boston Globe reported Wednesday.

A lawyer for the convicted priest confirmed his client will be available to testify in pending civil cases against the archdiocese, the newspaper said.

The Rev. Ronald Paquin pleaded guilty Tuesday to three counts of child rape in Salem Superior Court in Massachusetts. He was the first Boston Archdiocese priest to admit guilt in a criminal child assault case since the sex abuse scandal rocked the Roman Catholic Church in January.

The Boston Archdiocese, the fourth largest in the United States with about 2.1 million Catholics, faces an estimated 500 clergy sexual abuse claims.

Jeffrey Newman, a Boston lawyer who represented the victim in the Paquin case, told the Globe he expects the convicted priest to be a “key player” in providing information about the archdiocese’s practice of sheltering abusive priests.

Cardinal Bernard Law, the senior U.S. prelate in the Roman Catholic Church, resigned as the head of the Boston Archdiocese in December amid growing revelations he allowed abusive priests to be shuttled from parish to parish.

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