Minister Charged With Sex Crimes

Alleged Victims Claim Abuse Happened 20 Years Ago

News Channel 10/January 2, 2003

New Bedford, Mass. -- A Seekonk minister was arraigned Thursday on child sex charges.

Ralph Heroux pleaded not guilty to two counts of rape of a child, and two counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14.

Heroux, 74, is connected to the Kingdom Hall on Arcade Avenue in Seekonk, News Channel 10's Carmen Castellanos reported. Heroux allegedly abused a 5-year-old girl and a boy. The alleged victims said the abuse happened more than 20 years ago when the suspect lived in Attleboro. The alleged victims told News Channel 10 they were forced into silence by the elders at their Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Hall. They said they disassociated themselves from the church and never knew each other was a victim until last year when the district attorney began investigating. They said they are relieved that Heroux is finally being prosecuted, but are still concerned about other children. Heroux was released on personal recognizance.

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