Court denies former priest’s appeal in New Mexico abuse case

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A federal appeals court on Wednesday upheld a former Roman Catholic priest’s convictions and 30-year prison sentence in a New Mexico case centered on sexual abuse of an altar boy at a veterans cemetery and military base.

A 58-page decision by the three judges on a 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel denied Arthur Perrault’s appeal, saying they were convinced Perrault “received a fundamentally fair trial in compliance with his constitutional rights.”

Perrault had fled the United States decades before he was returned from Morocco after being indicted in 2017.

Perrault was convicted in April 2019 of six counts of aggravated sexual abuse and one count of abusive sexual contact with a minor under 12. He maintained his innocence during his October 2019 sentencing.

Formerly a pastor at an Albuquerque parish and a chaplain at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, Perrault was accused of sexually abusing a boy at the base and at Santa Fe National Cemetery.

The two sites are within federal jurisdiction, which allowed U.S. authorities to file charges with no statute of limitations.