New Mexico priest held on child sex abuse charges | KOB 4
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New Mexico priest held on child sex abuse charges

KOB & The Associated Press
September 25, 2018 07:06 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A federal judge has ordered a priest who fled the U.S. decades ago amid allegations of child sex abuse to be held pending trial.

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U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen Molzen ruled Tuesday that Arthur Perrault, who has pleaded not guilty, was a flight risk despite arguments from his defense attorney that he had no passport, no family and no means to leave the country.

Prosecutor Sean Sullivan argued that the 80-year-old priest was a danger to the community.

Some people who say they are victims of Perrault's attended the hearing and applauded and exchanged hugs following the judge's ruling.

Prosecutors say Perrault had been a chaplain at a base in Albuquerque where he is accused of sexually abusing children.

Court documents say he vanished in 1992, just days before an attorney filed two lawsuits against the archdiocese alleging Perrault had sexually assaulted seven children at his parish. He was located last year in Morocco.

4 Investigates successfully fought in court to release church records. Those records included dozens of Perrault's documented accusers, dating back to the 1960s.

One alleged victim wrote, "this is a situation where almost everyone knows about Father Perrault's advances, but no one talks about it." 

Victims in similar cases told KOB that Perrault's arrest was an example of delayed justice. 

"You wake up every day with those thoughts in your head, so in a lot of ways, you're a prisoner of that when they're not, they're free," said Diana Abetya of the Support Network for those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP.

Anyone with information about Perrault's conduct is encouraged to contact the U.S. Attorney's Office of the FBI.

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KOB & The Associated Press

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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