Catholic Priest Extradited To US for Sex Abuse Crimes Committed 26 Years Ago
Eighty-year-old Arthur Perrault, a former Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing children is to be arraigned in the United States. Perrault was extradited from Morocco to face federal charges of sex abuse committed 26 years ago in New Mexico. The priest may face life in prison if convicted of the charges against him.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office disclosed that Perrault sexually abused seven children from 1973 to 1992 when he was a priest at the Archdiocese of Santa Fe and later a chaplain at Kirtland Airforce Base in Albuquerque. With several lawsuits filed against him for the molestation, the priest fled the country in 1992. An FBI manhunt tracked him to Morocco in 2016.
Perrault Assaulted an Altar Boy At Least 40 Times as a Catholic Priest
One of the plaintiffs, Kenneth Wolter, accused Perrault of sex abuse while he served as an altar boy at St. Bernadette Parish where the Catholic priest pastored at the time. Wolter said Perrault sexually molested him over 40 times. Early last year, Second Judicial District Judge Denise Barela-Shepherd awarded $16 million as compensation to Wolter.
The U.S. government issued a provisional arrest warrant for Perrault in September 2017 and at the instance of the FBI, Moroccan police arrested him in October 2017. According to a four-page federal indictment, Perrault was alleged to have sexually abused a kid repeatedly from 1991 to 1992 at Kirtland Airforce Base in Bernalillo and the Santa Fe National Cemetery – both federally-protected lands in New Mexico.
New Mexico District Attorney John C. Anderson noted that Perrault breached the trust that people reposed in him as a mentor to youths and a respected figure in the community. He said the offender’s arrest and arraignment indicate that the long arm of justice will always reach anyone anywhere; no matter how long ago the crime was committed.
“Our law enforcement agencies are arresting and indicting pedophile priests, and our State attorney general is investigating the cover-ups that allowed those priests to escape justice for decades. I applaud them,” said attorney Levi Monagle of the Law Offices of Brad D. Hall.
Federal Agencies Persevere, Track and Arrest Perrault
Having reportedly represented over 100 sex victims of Catholic Church abuse in New Mexico, the Law Offices of Brad D. Hall commended the state for “entering into a new era of accountability and transparency” where hopes are restored.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Langenberg said tracking and extraditing Perrault was a long, arduous journey. It took a lot of patience and perseverance for the FBI and partner agents to bring him to justice for a crime committed 26 years ago.
“The FBI would like to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations for their support during this long investigation, and also extend our gratitude to the Moroccan government and our staff in that country for helping make this day possible,” said Langenberg.
Perrault is billed to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen B. Molzen.