Feds: Priest blamed sex abuse on cancer he didn’t have

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Prosecutors say a former New Mexico priest who fled the U.S. decades ago amid allegations of child sex abuse enticed victims with gifts, and once blamed his behavior on a cancer diagnosis he didn’t have.

Arthur Perrault is scheduled Tuesday to appear in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque for a detention hearing as prosecutors seek to hold the 80-year-old until his trial for aggravated sexual abuse.

Court documents filed in federal court say victims described Perrault showering them with gifts and meals before abusing them.

Documents also said the Connecticut-born Perrault wrote an apology letter to the parents of one victim in 1971 and blamed his actions on cancer, which prosecutors say he never had.

Perrault was extradited to New Mexico last week from Morocco.

He has pleaded not guilty.

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