Episcopal priest arraigned on child sex abuse charges

09/10/2012 SOMERVILLE, MA Reverend Paul A. LaCharite (cq) (right), 65, of Boston, is arraigned in Somerville District Court (cq) on one count of assault to rape a child and three counts of indecent assault and battery on a child. His defense attorney David Meier (cq) stands to his left. (Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe)
The Rev. Paul A. LaCharite (right) is arraigned in Somerville District Court, with his attorney, David Meier, standing by.
Aram Booghosian for The Boston Globe

A Somerville District Court judge this morning set bail at $10,000 for an Episcopal priest after the priest’s arraignment on charges of sexually assaulting a child.

The Rev. Paul A. LaCharite, 65, of Boston faces one count of assault with intent to rape a child and three counts of indecent assault and battery on a child.

The crimes allegedly occurred over a 10-year period at the St. James Episcopal Church in Somerville, where LaCharite was assigned from 1989 to 2005, prosecutors said.

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The victim is 26 years old now and married, with a 2-year-old daughter.

LaCharite, who is currently affiliated with the Old North Church in Boston, “vehemently denies” the allegations against him, said LaCharite’s defense attorney, David Meier.

Meier said the last contact the victim had with the priest had been two years ago, when the victim contacted the priest about baptizing his daughter.

Prosecutors said in a statement last week that the victim and his family were long-time parishioners of St. James. In the 1990s, beginning when the victim was in elementary school, LaCharite allegedly began inappropriately touching the victim in his office. Prosecutors said LaCharite’s conduct “progressed” over the years until LaCharite left the parish.

The victim stepped forward last week. LaCharite was arrested on Friday.

Prosecutors said he was slated to return to court Oct. 22 for a probable cause hearing.

Prosecutors asked anyone who might have helpful information to call Somerville Police at 617-625-1212 x 7220 or the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office Child Abuse Unit at 781-897-8400.