(Reuters) – A former Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing a baby within the early 1990s whereas serving as a army chaplain on a U.S. Air Drive base has been extradited from Morocco and can face expenses in New Mexico, U.S. officers mentioned on Friday.
The Catholic Church worldwide is reeling from crises involving sexual abuse of minors, deeply damaging confidence within the Church in the US, Chile, Australia, and Eire the place the scandal has hit hardest, and elsewhere.
An indictment filed in U.S. District Courtroom in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Sept. 21, 2017, expenses Arthur Perrault, 80, with six counts of aggravated sexual abuse and one depend of abusive sexual contact.
If convicted, Perrault faces a most sentence of life in jail for the aggravated sexual abuse expenses and as much as 10 years in jail for the abusive sexual contact cost, U.S. Lawyer John Anderson for the District of New Mexico informed a information convention.
Perrault was arrested by Moroccan authorities shortly after final yr’s indictment and had been in custody ever since, Particular Agent in Cost James Langenberg, of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Albuquerque Division, informed the information convention.
The FBI’s investigation positioned Perrault in Morocco and FBI brokers flew there and took custody of him on Thursday, Langenberg mentioned.
Perrault appeared on Friday earlier than U.S. Justice of the Peace Decide Karen Molzen in Albuquerque the place he was appointed an lawyer, Sam Winder, to characterize him, mentioned U.S. lawyer’s workplace spokeswoman Elizabeth Martinez.
Winder didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
“There are most likely some individuals who doubted Mr. Perrault would ever be introduced again to New Mexico to face a choose after being away for thus lengthy. It was essential to show them fallacious for one motive – the sufferer on this case,” Langenberg mentioned.
Though just one alleged sufferer is talked about within the indictment, prosecutors mentioned in a separate court docket doc that Perrault is a serial baby molester who abused quite a few victims over greater than 20 years as a priest in New Mexico and Rhode Island. He fled the US in 1992 when his felony conduct turned public, in accordance with a court docket doc.
“This indictment alleges a profound breach of belief by a person who was extensively perceived as a mentor to younger individuals and a revered determine locally,” Anderson mentioned.
Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; Further reporting by Andrew Hay in Taos, N.M.; Modifying by Matthew Lewis