May 12, 2005

Priest guilty of sex abuse

Woonsocket Call

Staff and wire reports 05/12/2005

BELLINGHAM -- A retired Roman Catholic priest who was extradited from Canada to face sex abuse charges pleaded guilty on Wednesday to molesting 18 altar boys from Our Lady of Assumption Parish in south Bellingham and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

The Rev. Paul Desilets -- now 82, diabetic and suffering from an illness caused by childhood polio -- admitted to 32 assault and battery charges resulting from a 4Ĺ-year-old Bellingham police case. Judge Timothy Hillman also sentenced the former Assumption assistant pastor to 10 years of probation following his release.

"Father Desilets did what he did to accept responsibility for his conduct," said his lawyer, Dennis Kelly. "Itís a sad day for everyone involved."

Desilets, who appeared weak and gaunt during his arraignment on April 25, was hospitalized a few days later, but officials would not say why. He returned to prison a week later, Kelly said.

Kelly said his client should be physically able to endure his prison sentence.

Posted by kshaw at May 12, 2005 06:24 AM