Arthur Perrault is behind bars, finally. The 80-year-old priest is back from Morocco and in federal custody as he awaits trial on charges that he molested an 11-year-old boy at Kirkland Air Force Base in Albuquerque.
A U.S. magistrate judge earlier this week agreed that Perrault should remain in federal custody until his trial. Authorities, correctly, do not trust the man who fled the country in 1992. They fear the priest could use the force of his charming personality to find help and escape again. After all, it took nearly 30 years to recapture the accused molester, who worked in the Albuquerque area for nearly three decades before fleeing the country rather than face charges. For his many accusers this reckoning has been a long time coming.
Such is the case for many victims of sexual abuse. The very nature of the crime — often, there are no witnesses and little physical evidence — has made it difficult to persuade others that a violation has occurred. Some victims repress their memories and can’t come forward at the time of the incident. For those who do remember, when the accused is popular, whether a priest, an entertainer or star athlete, victims often choose to remain silent rather than be ridiculed or worse, shamed.