Paquin, an admitted child molester, was not removed from active ministry until two years ago, even though the archdiocese received at least 18 complaints in two decades that he had sexually abused young boys.
Newman, whose law firm represents about 300 of the additional alleged victims, said he expects Paquin to be a ''key player'' in providing information about the archdiocese's practice of transferring abusive priests. Paquin's defense attorney, Kevin Reddington, confirmed that Paquin ''will be available to testify'' in pending civil cases ''against the almighty Roman Catholic Church.''
....Cardinal Bernard F. Law reinstated Paquin to priestly duties as recently as 1998, and several of Law's former top aides - including current Bishop John B. McCormack of Manchester, N.H., and current Bishop William F. Murphy of Rockville Centre, N.Y. - supported his return to ministry, even though they knew about multiple allegations against him. And despite Paquin's checkered history, the archdiocese paid him a severance package of nearly $80,000 last year.