Priest Extradited Back to New Mexico After He Fled Sex Abuse Lawsuits

A U.S. priest who fled the country amid allegations of child sex abuse decades ago has been extradited back to New Mexico to face charges, the Associated Press reports. 80-year-old Arthur Perrault, formerly a priest in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe and an ex-Air Force chaplain, vanished in 1992 days before two lawsuits were filed claiming he sexually assaulted seven children at St. Bernadette parish. According to the Justice Department, Perrault fled to Canada then Tangier, Morocco, where he worked at an English-language school for children. Church records released in 2017 show that he has also been accused of sexually abusing at least 38 other boys in state lawsuits. Perrault has been with charged with “seven counts of aggravated sexual abuse and abusive sexual contact” for incidents at Santa Fe National Cemetery and Kirtland Air Force Base—where he allegedly abused a boy younger than 12. “There were some people who doubted Mr. Perrault would ever be back to New Mexico after being away for so long,” FBI special agent James Langenberg said in a Friday press conference. “It was important to prove them wrong for one reason — the victim in this case.”