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Authorities arrest fugitive New Mexico priest in abuse case

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A fugitive priest suspected of child abuse decades ago in New Mexico was arrested Thursday in New York, according to court documents filed Friday.

Arthur J. Perrault, 80, has been charged with criminal aggravated sexual abuse and abusive sexual contact in assaults that federal authorities say happened at Kirtland Airforce Base and Santa Fe National Cemetery, according to an arrest warrant filed in federal court in Albuquerque.

He is scheduled for a federal court appearance Friday in Albuquerque

Perrault had been a chaplain at the base in Albuquerque, records show.

He vanished in 1992, just days before an attorney filed two lawsuits against the archdiocese alleging Perrault had sexually assaulted seven children at his parish.

Perrault turned up last year in Morocco, working at an English-language school for children, where he was subsequently fired.

Perrault, a one-time pastor at St. Bernadette parish in Albuquerque, is one of many priests sent to New Mexico from around the country for treatment over pedophilia.

Victims, lawyers and church documents show that the priests were later assigned to parishes and schools across New Mexico — especially to assignments in small Native American and Hispanic communities.

Perrault is accused in a number of lawsuits of sexually abusing at least 38 boys in New Mexico in a number of lawsuits.

He was recommended for a teaching post at St. Pius X High School in 1966 by a psychologist under contract with the Servants of the Paraclete, a religious order that ran a treatment center for pedophile priests in Jemez Springs, New Mexico.

Records show Perrault was sent to Jemez Springs in 1965 after he was accused of molesting young men while serving in Connecticut.

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