Defrocked priest pleads not guilty to 31 sex abuse charges

Priest in Court

ALFRED, Maine (NECN)-- A former Massachusetts priest who spent a decade in prison for raping an altar boy has pleaded not guilty to 31 sex abuse charges in Maine. 

Two men have accused Ronald Paquin of sexually abusing them at a trailer in Kennebunkport, Maine in the late 1980s. Both accusers were children at the time of the abuse. 

Keith Townsend of Seabrook, New Hampshire, has identified himself as one of the accusers. 

"I didn't know if people would believe a story as old as this, but all I could think of is, ‘how many more victims are going through what I'm going through?’" he said. 

Townsend's accusations lead to an indictment last February. After prosecutors conducted more interviews, they determined that more charges were warranted. Paquin was re-indicted this month, to bring the total to 31 charges. 

Paquin was a key figure in the Catholic sex abuse scandal in Massachusetts in the early 2000s. 

"Father Paquin is a serial pedophile," said Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston attorney who represented several of Paquin's victims in Massachusetts. "He's a predator...and there's nothing stopping him from abusing again unless he is incarcerated." 

Paquin's defense attorney, Heather Gonzales, declined to comment on the case. She said Paquin's next court date is January 11. He is being held at the York County Jail. 

Copyright 2017NECN


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