MEDFORD — A New York man was arraigned today on charges of sexually abusing four boys while he was the swim coach at the Arlington Boys & Girls Club during the late 1970s.
Paul Collins, 62, who was arrested Friday in his Long Island home, pleaded not guilty in Cambridge District Court, and was ordered held on $250,000 bail. Prosecutors said Collins had admitted to sexual contact with two of the accusers and told investigators he may have had contact with the other two as well.
Collins has lived in a number of states since leaving Massachusetts in 1980, and admitted he had been “looking over his shoulder for the past 33 years,’’ prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said.
Collins is charged with rape of a child and three counts of indecent assault and battery on a child. The accusers, now in their mid-40s, met Collins at the Arlington club. Some of the alleged acts occurred at the club; some occurred outside the club.
The charges against Collins come about three months after the club announced that it had discovered multiple allegations that a former and now deceased employee, William Sullivan of West Roxbury, had sexually abused children at the club between the 1970s and 1990s.
In court documents, one accuser said he remembered Collins staying at his home one summer while he recovered from surgery. One night, he woke up to “find Paul in bed with him’’ and performing a sexual act. He punched Collins in the head and Collins packed his things and left. The next morning he told his mother, who was “devastated and furious.’’ His father went to the club and spoke with the club director, and “a decision was made that Collins would leave town immediately.’’
Fitzgerald said Collins was fired from the youth club after he was confronted with allegations of raping a child and quickly left the area. Collins’s lawyer said the club asked him to leave when the allegations were made.
“He did what he was asked to do,’’ said Josina Raisler-Cohn, a public defender assigned to represent Collins.
Police were not notified at the time.
Raisler-Cohn 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.
If he posts bail, Collins is to have no contact with children under 16 and must wear a GPS monitor. He is due back in court June 17 for a probable cause hearing.