Former Priest Extradited from Morocco to Face Federal Child Sexual Abuse Charges in New Mexico
Arthur Perrault Prosecuted Under Project Safe Childhood for Allegedly Sexually Abusing Child on Kirtland Air Force Base and Santa Fe National Cemetery in 1991 to 1992
ALBUQUERQUE – U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson for the District of New Mexico, Special Agent in Charge James C. Langenberg of the FBI Albuquerque Division and Special Agent in Charge Nicholas J. Dorval of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Detachment 814, announced today that Arthur Perrault has been extradited from Morocco to the United States to face federal child sexual abuse charges in New Mexico.
Perrault, 80, a former Catholic priest who served in New Mexico under the Archdiocese of Santa Fe from 1973 to 1992, is charged in a seven-count indictment with engaging in acts constituting aggravated sexual abuse and abusive sexual contact with a minor under the age of 12. The indictment alleges that Perrault repeatedly sexually abused the minor victim in 1991 and 1992 while on federally-protected land, Kirtland Air Force Base in Bernalillo County, N.M., and the Santa Fe National Cemetery in Santa Fe County, N.M.
“The indictment alleges a profound breach of trust by an individual who was widely perceived as a mentor to young people and a respected figure in the community,” said U.S. Attorney Anderson. “Although the indictment charges acts allegedly committed many years ago, this indictment should make clear that the U.S. Attorney’s Office will pursue justice for victims despite the passage of time or the many miles this defendant sought to put between himself and these alleged offenses.”
“Bringing Arthur Perrault back to New Mexico took a lot of patience and perseverance, but the FBI and our partners were determined to make sure he faced justice, no matter how long it took or how far we had to go to get him,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Langenberg. “We also owed it to this victim. The FBI would like to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations for their support during this long investigation, and also extend our gratitude to the Moroccan government and our staff in that country for helping make this day possible.”
“The involvement of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations in this investigation was predicated on its role as the primary federal investigative agency for serious criminal issues affecting U.S. Air Force installations and personnel worldwide, and its responsibility to advise senior Air Force military and civilian leadership on all criminal issues affecting the Air Force,” said AFOSI Special Agent in Charge Dorval. “Our partnership with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office brought key capabilities to this investigation that were essential to filing charges in this case.”
Moroccan law enforcement authorities arrested Perrault on Oct. 12, 2017, in Morocco on a provisional arrest warrant issued based on the charges in the indictment, which was filed under seal on Sept. 21, 2017. The FBI assumed custody of Perrault from Moroccan authorities on Sept. 20. The indictment was unsealed earlier today after the U.S. Attorney’s Office notified the Court that the FBI had arrested Perrault and transported him from Morocco to the United States, and was in the process of transporting him to the District of New Mexico. Perrault is scheduled to make his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen B. Molzen later this afternoon.
If convicted of the aggravated sexual abuse charges in the indictment, Perrault faces a statutory maximum penalty of a lifetime term of imprisonment. The abusive sexual contact charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years of imprisonment. Charges in indictments are merely accusations, and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
This case was investigated by the FBI Albuquerque office with assistance from the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Detachment 814, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sean J. Sullivan and Holland S. Kastrin of the District of New Mexico. The extradition of Perrault is the result of close cooperation between these investigating agencies and prosecutors, the Morocco Ministry of Justice, Moroccan law enforcement authorities, the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs, and the FBI Legal Attaché in Morocco.
Perrault is being prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Justice Department to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and DOJ’s Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/.
Starting today, information about the federal prosecution of Perrault, including the indictment, will be available at https://www.justice.gov/usao-nm/priest-prosecution. Also starting today, individuals may inquire about the pending charges or provide information about other conduct by Perrault by emailing the U.S. Attorney’s Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling the FBI’s Albuquerque Division at 1-800-CALL-FBI.