SANTA FE, N.M. — A U.S. jury has found a former priest guilty of sexually abusing a boy nearly three decades ago at a veterans’ cemetery and Air Force base in New Mexico.
The jury reached the verdict Wednesday against 81-year-old Arthur Perrault, who had vanished from New Mexico in 1992.
He was returned to the United States in September from Morocco to face charges of aggravated sexual abuse and abusive sexual contact.
Authorities believe Perrault had multiple victims in New Mexico, but the charges against him stemmed only from the treatment of one boy at Santa Fe National Cemetery and Kirtland Air Force Base, where
Perrault was a chaplain. He worked in churches in Sharon, East Hartford, New Haven and Naugatuck . He is listed on the Hartford Archdiocese website of priests with issues involving sexual abuse of minors:
Prosecutors say the locations fall under federal jurisdiction.
Perrault maintained in court proceedings that he was innocent of the charges.
Once the pastor of one of New Mexico’s largest Catholic parishes, Perrault vanished from the state in 1992 as an attorney prepared to file two lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Santa Fe alleging he had sexually assaulted seven children.