ARTHUR Perrault, 81, has been handed a 30-year prison sentence for multiple sexual assaults on a young New Mexico altar boy over a two year period in the 1990s.
In sentencing Perrault, who fled to US to settle in Morocco where he reported abused other youngsters, US District Judge Martha Vazquez described his offences as:
The worst case that I have ever handled and ever seen.
Perrault was convicted in April of seven federal counts for the assault of a 10-year-old altar boy at St Bernadette’s parish in Albuquerque. Authorities said Perrault abused the child in several places, including at a veteran’s cemetery and a military base.
Vazquez told the ex-priest:
I’m glad you’re looking at me, because it is extremely difficult to speak to someone and to try to explain one’s sentiments and have that person not give you the respect of looking at them. It was supposed to be your job to help, not destroy.
Perrault met the “deeply devout” boy and his mother when he was a pastor at St Bernadette’s parish. The abuse ended when Perrault fled the country in 1992.He moved to Morocco when he learned that other victims were coming forward. He lived in Morocco for 26 years and taught classes at a language centre.
One of his victims wrote in a letter to the judge prior to the sentencing hearing:
In Morocco, while Perrault lived freely and likely victimized more young students, I and other victims were left with the burden of shame, the trauma of sexual assault, and the struggle to cope with the symptoms of his abuse. Now it’s time for him to cope with prison. I urge you to impose the maximum sentence.
He was arrested by local authorities in 2017 and sent to the US last year. Morocco has no extradition treaty with the US, but the Moroccan government expelled him and transferred custody to the FBI.
Perrault’s arrest came after he was indicted by a federal grand jury for the boy’s sexual abuse at two federal sites, the Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque and the Santa Fe National Cemetery.
The indictment captured only a small fraction of the crimes he actually committed, naming just one of his many victims and, by virtue of the constraints of federal jurisdiction, included only the molestations he inflicted on federal enclaves.
The former priest moved to New Mexico in the 1960s and became a teacher and faculty advisor at St Pius High School. Prior to becoming a pastor at St Bernadette’s parish, he served at local parishes Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and Our Lady of the Assumption.