February 28, 2005

Past still haunts accused priest


Sunday, February 27, 2005

Two houses away from the school bus stop at Belleview Drive and Montgomery Road in Westfield, the Rev. Edward O. Paquette Jr. lives in a small, ranch-style home with his dog.

To his neighbors, Paquette is a friendly man who keeps to himself. Many neighbors only see him when he walks his black Labrador in the morning.

But to a prosecutor, a retired police officer and dozens of former parishioners in three states, he's the priest who broke a sacred trust and escaped criminal prosecution for alleged sexual assaults on young boys.

Paquette, 77, was removed from ministry in 1963 after allegations arose in the Fall River diocese that he sexually molested boys. But the Catholic priest went on to serve in Indiana and Vermont before his permanent removal from ministry in 1978.

The Vermont bishop who removed him from ministry for the final time - the late John A. Marshall - would later become bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield amid a clergy abuse scandal here.

Posted by kshaw at February 28, 2005 05:05 PM