Man charged with abuse at Arlington club

He is accused of rape of children decades ago

Paul A. Collins, 62, was taken to Mt. Auburn Hospital for observation.
Suffolk County, N.Y., Police Dept.
Paul A. Collins, 62, was taken to Mt. Auburn Hospital for observation.

Allegations of sexual abuse at the Arlington Boys & Girls Club from the 1970s to ’90s continue to escalate as police said they have identified five more victims and arrested a former club employee in New York.

Paul A. Collins, 62, of Centereach, N.Y., was arrested Friday on charges of rape of a child with force, indecent assault and battery of a child under the age of 14, and indecent assault and battery and lewd, open, and gross conduct, according to the Middlesex district attorney’s office.

He was arrested by the United States Marshal’s New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force and the Arlington Police Department.


Chief Frederick Ryan of the Arlington Police Department said Collins waived extradition and was returned to Massachusetts Saturday night. Ryan said that after Collins was booked at the police station, he was taken to Mt. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge for observation.

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Collins is scheduled to be arraigned Monday at Cambridge District Court, according to Middlsex district attorney’s office.

The charges against Collins come about three months after the Arlington Boys & Girls 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.

A former member of the club brought the allegations to the club’s attention in late 2011, and the club hired someone to investigate before informing Arlington police of the allegations in January.

Arlington police began investigating the allegations. Ryan said that after the first revelations of abuse appeared in the media in February, other victims came forward, which led to the charges against Collins.


The charges against Collins stem from alleged abuse that occurred in the late 1970s and early ’80s, and involves five male accusers now in their 40s, according to authorities.

Ryan said Collins was a counselor at the club, and in that position had access to children there.

Sullivan, who died in 2002, had been a program director at the club, where he worked from 1964 to 2002. Because Sullivan is dead, Arlington police have said there may not be any prosecutable crimes in the allegations against him.

Ryan said the accusers in the Collins case are different individuals from those in Sullivan’s case. Nothing in the investigation has led police to believe that Collins and Sullivan were committing the alleged abuse together, Ryan said.

The Arlington Boys & Girls Club said in a statement it is “deeply disturbed” to learn about the charges against the former employee.


The club said in the statement that it had disclosed information to police about the allegations against Sullivan with the goal of encouraging anyone with information about possible sexual abuse to report it to the authorities.

“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,” said the statement released by the club’s executive director, Derek Curran. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all victims.”

Collins had moved to several places around the country since leaving his job at the Arlington Boys & Girls Club, Ryan said, and when police tracked him down on Long Island he was working as a maintenance employee at a hotel.

“Obviously the authorities down there will be looking into his recent activities,” Ryan said.

Ryan said he wants to emphasize that there is no reason to believe any children at the Arlington Boys & Girls Club are currently at risk, as the crimes allegedly occurred decades ago.

The Middlesex district attorney’s office is working with Arlington police on the investigation, and Ryan said the club management is working closely with the authorities.

“There’s always the likelihood that more victims may come forward and we are prepared to support them,” Ryan said.

Brock Parker can be reached at