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Ex-NH Diocese official Arsenault moved from prison to county jail

The Rev. Edward Arsenault, the high-ranking Roman Catholic priest sentenced in April to a minimum four years in state prison, was moved to the Cheshire County House of Correction two weeks ago, a state corrections official confirmed.

Corrections Department spokesman Jeff Lyons said Arsenault was transferred to the Cheshire County House of Corrections on May 22. He had been at New Hampshire State Prison for about a month.

Lyons said the reason for an individual’s transfer to another facility is treated as confidential by the Corrections Department.

Speaking in general terms, he said transfers usually take place for the safety of the inmate or if the inmate is deemed a threat to the prison.

In April, Arsenault pleaded guilty to stealing more than $185,000 from the Diocese of Manchester, Catholic Medical Center and the estate of a monsignor. He was sentenced to 4 to 20 years in state prison.

During the 2000s, Arsenault held some of the highest posts at the Diocese of Manchester, a job that frequently had him involved with lawyers, reporters and victims as the priest sex-abuse scandal unfolded in the Diocese.

Lyons said Arsenault is currently a medium-custody inmate, meaning he can’t be approved for work release or home confinement.

“Each case is different, but generally speaking inmates get classified at minimum security about 18 months prior to their minimum parole date and they get work release about 6 months prior to their minimum,” Lyons wrote in an email.

But he said that is all based on behavior and whether the inmate participates and completes programming required of him.

Trace Adkins
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