A Long Island, N.Y., man was arraigned Monday, May 20 on charges of sexual abuse at the Boys & Girls Club decades ago.

Paul A. Collins, 62, of Centereach, faces numerous charges dating to the 1970s and early '80s, and there are five known victims, Chief Fred Ryan reported Saturday, May 8.

The complaint alleges rape of a child with force, indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, as well as lewdness, open and gross conduct.

Boston.com reported the arraignment in Cambridge District Court in Medford.

The District Attorney's Office reported that Judge Roanne Sragow ordered the defendant held on $250,000 cash bail with the following conditions:

No contact with any victims/witnesses, wear a GPS monitor, no unsupervised contact with children under 16, no work or volunteer work involving contact with children under 16, check in with probation weekly and surrender passport.

District Attorney Marian Ryan said in a news release: "This defendant used his position within the boys and girls club to gain access to and allegedly assault these victims. Despite the passage of time, we will move forward and hold the defendant accountable for his actions while seeking justice for the victims."

The victims are now in their mid-40s, the DA's office said.

No criminal record

The May 20 Boston.com story quotes Collins's lawyer as saying the club asked Collins to leave when the allegations were made in 1980, and he did.

Josina Raisler-Cohn, a public defender assigned to represent Collins, said Collins has no criminal record and that no other allegations of improper behavior have been made against him. While the statute of limitations for the alleged crimes is six years, in this case the time was frozen because Collins had left the state and was not a resident after 1980.

Collins is due back in court Monday, June 17, for a probable-cause hearing.

Ryan said that following the May 18 arraignment on a fugitive-from-justice charge, Collins waived extradition. He was transported to here by Arlington detectives the evening of May 18.

Former aquatics director

An Arlington police report about the arrest of Collins says he was aquatics director at the Arlington club.

Ryan told The Globe on Saturday that after Collins was booked at the police station, he was taken to Mt. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge for observation.

In February, police reported that William F. Sullivan, known as "Sully," allegedly abused children at the club between the 1970s and 1990s. He worked at the club from 1964 to 2002, the year he died.

A news release issued Feb. 7, by Derek Curran, executive director of the club, said: "The Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office, the Arlington Police Department, and the Club encourage anyone with any information about possible sexual abuse in any form and at any time related to the Club to contact the Middlesex District Attorney’s Child Abuse Unit at 781-897-8400 or the Arlington Police Department at 781-643-1212."

A former member of the club brought the allegations to the club's attention in late 2011, The Boston Globe has reported, and the club hired someone to investigate before informing Arlington police of the allegations last January.

No comment on 2011 probe

Asked why club directors decided to have an investigator look into the allegations in 2011 and not bring the claims to police at that time, Curran responded Monday, May 20: "I do not have anything to add beyond our statement. Thank you for understanding."

The statement is reported below.

Arlington police and the Middlesex District Attorney's Office began investigating the allegations, and Ryan said after the first revelations of abuse appeared in the media in February other victims came forward, which led to the charges against Collins, Boston.com reported May 18.

The Boston.com account adds that the alleged victims in the Collins case are different people from the alleged victims known from the allegations against Sullivan. Ryan told the website there is nothing in the investigation that has led police to believe that Collins and Sullivan were committing the alleged abuse together, but he said police have a lot of questions for Collins.

Ryan noted the arrest in a news alert to area media. It cited "allegation of sexual abuse by former employee(s) of the Arlington Boys & Girls Club."

As a result of an Arlington police investigation, on Wednesday, May 15, detectives sought and received arrest warrants for Collins, 31 Pleasant Ave., Centereach.

On Friday, May 17, Arlington police detectives were dispatched to Centereach, where they and officers from the Suffolk County Police Department arrested Collins without incident. He was arraigned at the 1st District Court, 400 Carleton Ave., Central Islip, N.Y., on Saturday, May 18, at 11 a.m.

"This investigation is ongoing and these are allegations," Ryan wrote. "Mr. Collins is [presumed] innocent until proven guilty.

"I want to emphasize, there is no reason to believe that there is currently any risk to any children at the Arlington Boys & Girls Club, and these alleged crimes occurred decades ago. The current management team is fully cooperating with our investigation."

Club statement

At 12:20 p.m. May 18, the club emailed a statement to YourArlington from Curran, its executive director:

"The Arlington Boys and Girls Club is deeply disturbed to learn that Paul Collins, a former employee of the Club, was arrested yesterday in New York on charges that he sexually abused children at the Club several decades ago.

"Although this matter is not related to allegations we made public this past winter against Mr. William Sullivan, another former and now deceased employee, among our goals with that disclosure was to create an environment where anyone with any information about possible sexual abuse is encouraged to come forward and contact the Middlesex District Attorney’s Child Abuse Unit or the Arlington Police Department.

"We have been working cooperatively with the Arlington Police throughout the course of their investigation in recognition that no child should ever experience the trauma of abuse of any kind. Our thoughts and prayers are with all victims."

The prosecutor assigned to this case is Assistant District Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. The victim witness advocate is Susie Marshall, the DA's office said.


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This story was published at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 18, 2013, and updated numerous times, including May 20 following the local arraignment.