ALFRED — A former Boston priest was found guilty Thursday of sexually abusing a boy during trips to Maine in the 1980s.

The York County jury reached the verdict after a sometimes emotional three-day trial and several hours of deliberations Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning.

Ronald Paquin, 76, was found guilty on 11 on 24 counts of sexual misconduct.

Paquin was one of the priests exposed in the early 2000s by a sweeping Boston Globe investigation into clergy sex abuse. He served more than a decade in prison in Massachusetts for repeatedly raping an altar boy between 1989 and 1992, beginning when the victim is 12.

His trial was believed to be the first in Maine for a priest embroiled in the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal.The jury of five women and seven men listened to testimony for three days at the York County courthouse. They began their deliberations Wednesday afternoon and reached a verdict late Thursday morning.

Jurors weighed the sometimes pained testimony of two men who brought the allegations against their childhood priest. IN the end, they found Paquin guilty of all charges related to one of the victims but not both.

Both said Paquin befriended them when they were young altar boys in their Haverhill, Mass., parish. They said he took them out for meals and on trips, including to a motel and campground in Kennebunkport where Paquin had a trailer. Paquin gave them alcohol like beer and wine coolers, they said, and he let them drive his car without a license.

The first man testified that Paquin told him dirty jokes that progressed to physical contact when he was as young as 12 or 13 years old. On those visits to Maine, Paquin would urge the boy to perform oral sex and other sex acts on him, and then Paquin would perform those acts on the boy.

Paquin used his parents’ divorce to manipulate him, the man said. His hands shook as he sat on the witness stand.

“He told me no one would care for me as he does,” the man told the jury.

He has not been publicly identified, and the Portland Press Herald does not name victims or alleged victims of sex crimes without their consent.

The second man described a similar pattern and the jury based their conviction on his allegations. Keith Townsend, now 44, has publicly identified himself in the Boston Globe and other media outlets as the person who first reported Paquin to Maine authorities. He told the jury this week that the abuse began when he was 8 or 9 years old, when he recalls sitting on Paquin’s lap and learning to drive his car through Massachusetts cemeteries.

On the witness stand, Townsend described his memory of one night in particular when Paquin gave him a drink made with Tanqueray gin and, he believes, prescription drugs. He told the jury about the way Paquin touched him that night and the pain in his rectum the next morning that later led him to believe he had been sexually assaulted.

“I can still taste that drink today,” Townsend said.

The prosecution also called witnesses who were worked at or visited the Kennebunkport campground. They recalled seeing young boys there with Paquin, although none of them said they had seen anything inappropriate. One woman said she once wondered aloud to another couple in the campground why the boys stayed in the trailer on a hot summer day instead of going to the nearby beach or pool. They told her the boys liked to stay inside and play Monopoly.

“They said Father Ron just likes to take these boys out of the inner city and give them a vacation,” said Sheila Renda, of Framingham, Mass.

They also heard from an expert witness who testified about delayed disclosure. Kathy Harvey Brown, a clinical social worker who is the coordinator of the Cumberland County Child Advocacy Center, said research shows men usually wait years to report sex abuse from their childhoods.

During closing arguments, the defense team told the jury that the graphic statements of the two men was too vague to warrant a conviction. He argued most of the testimony was “fluff” to distract from the general lack of physical evidence and eyewitness testimony that places these specific boys in Maine in the 1980s.

“The testimony from these two accusers can be compelling, but I don’t know how persuasive it is without something else,” said Roger Champagne, one of Paquin’s two attorneys. “Does it rise to proof beyond a reasonable doubt. I submit to you that it does not.”

Assistant District Attorney Nicholas Heimbach addressed that question in his rebuttal.

“The state submits to you, the answer is yes, it can,” he said. “As I said to you before, the testimony of a victim of gross sexual misconduct alone – that one victim – if it is not so contradictory, unreasonable, incredible or so lacking in common sense, can serve to establish every element of the offense regarding that victim beyond a reasonable doubt.”

The jury never heard the former priest speak. He decided not to testify in his own defense, so they also never learned about his prior conviction.

Paquin pleaded guilty in 2002 in Massachusetts to raping an altar boy between 1989 and 1992, beginning when the victim was 12. He was defrocked in 2004 and imprisoned until 2015, when specialists said he no longer met the criteria to be considered sexually dangerous.

Less than two years later, he was arrested again in Boston. He had been indicted in 2017 on 31 counts of gross sexual misconduct, although seven of those charges were dismissed earlier this week.

During their deliberations, the jurors asked questions twice.

On Wednesday, just before the end of the day, they asked the judge for clarification on the difference between several charges in the indictment. While all the charges related to gross sexual misconduct, two were more specific in the type of sex act alleged.

On Thursday, within the first hour of deliberations, they asked the court reporter to read back a portion of the first victim’s testimony related to alcohol. Several charges specifically alleged that Paquin used intoxicants to impair the boys involved.

This story will be updated.

Ronald Paquin listens to his attorney, Roger Champagne, give his closing argument Wednesday in York County Superior Court. Sitting to his right is Paquin’s attorney, Valerie Randall. Paquin is charged with sexually abusing two boys on trips to Maine in the 1980s. (Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald)

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