April 26, 2005

Desilets in Mass. court on abuse charges

Woonsocket Call

JOSEPH B. NADEAU, Staff Writer 04/26/2005

BELLINGHAM -- A retired priest who served at Assumption Parish in the mid-1970s and ’80s pleaded innocent Monday to charges of sexually assaulting former altar boys of the church and began talks with Worcester County District Attorney John J. Conte’s office on a possible plea settlement of the case.

The Rev. Paul M. Desilets, 81, was arraigned in Worcester County Superior Court on 32 indictments handed up by a Worcester County grand jury in April 2002 and pleaded innocent to all the charges, according to Conte. His next appearance in the court will be on May 13 for a pretrial conference.

Desilets was arrested by Canadian authorities on the charges in October 2002 while living with the Clerics of St. Viator religious order in Quebec.

The charges cover 18 of the 22 victims who came forward with allegations against Desilets during an investigation conducted in 2002 by Bellingham police detectives Richard Perry and Christopher Ferreira, and Conte’s investigator, state trooper Thomas Ryan.

The former Assumption associate pastor remained in Canada until last Friday, when he gave up a lengthy series of appeals to Canadian courts.

Posted by kshaw at April 26, 2005 08:48 AM