Category: Priest Sexual Abuse

Albert LeBlanc – Ex Priest and Probation Officer Pleads Guilty to Sexual Abuse

by John McKiggan

Albert LeBlanc a fomer catholic priest from the Yarmouth Diocese pleaded guilty this week to charges that he sexually abused six boys in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Some of the charges stem from the period when LeBlanc was employed as a priest with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Yarmouth the later charges relate to periods when he was employed as a case worker with Social Services and then a probation officer.

LeBlanc is facing 44 more charges which are scheduled to be dealt with in August.

The Diocese of Yarmouth has already been sued by several of LeBlanc’s victims. The potential legal exposure for the Diocese, Family and Children’s Services and Probation Services could be enormous.

Bishop’s Report Shows Abuse Allegations Against Priests Continue to Increase

by John McKiggan

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops released a report this week supposedly showing the number of sexual abuse allegations made against American priests last year. How the data in the report should be interpreted depends on your point of view.

The report indicated that there were 594 new credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor by a priest during 2011. That’s more than a 15 percent increase over the previous year.

However, the Conference of Catholic Bishops is quick to point out that “only” 23 of the new allegations involved children who were under the age of 18 in 2010 or 2011. In other words, the Bishops are trying to suggest that the problem of sexual abuse by priests is an historical one and that there are few current cases of sexual abuse by priests.

Court to Rule on Reliability of Repressed Memory in Abuse Case

by John McKiggan

Sexual abuse victims often struggle for years with memories of the traumatic abuse they suffered as children. In some cases, the experiences are so traumatic that they block out (or repress) the memories.

This week the Minnesota Supreme Court is hearing a motion to determine the validity of repressed memory in sexual abuse cases.

Courts will not allow expert evidence unless the party seeking to submit the evidence can establish that the evidence is reliable.

Former Bishop Lahey to be Sentenced on child porn charges today

by John McKiggan

Raymond Lahey, the former Bishop of Antigonish, will hear today how much time he is to serve for his admitted possession of child pornography.

In May last year Lahey surprised the court by pleading guilty and asking to go to jail pending his sentencing hearing.

I speculated at the time that Lahey’s guilty plea was less a sign of contrition and more likely a legal tactic to gain advantage during his sentencing. Courts in Canada have typically granted a two for one credit for time served while awaiting sentencing. Last year Canada changed the law forbidding the 2 for 1 sentencing credit. But Lahey’s lawyer successfully argued that because Lahey was charged in 2009 and the sentencing rules were not changed until 2010, he should still be entitled to the 2 for 1 credit.

Is Archbishop Penney Guilty of Perjury?

by John McKiggan

Former Saint John’s Archbishop Alphonse Penney was aware of sexual abuse allegations against former Roman Catholic Priest James Hickey as early as 1980. This according to evidence filed by the diocese’s insurers who are seeking to deny responsibility for paying civil suits filed against the diocese by Hickey’s sexual abuse victims.

Testified Under Oath

In 1992 Archbishop Penney testified during the Winter Commission investigation that he was not aware of any abuse allegations against Hickey until 1986.

Former Catholic Priest Picot Appeals to Supreme Court of Canada

by John McKiggan

Charles Picot, a former Catholic priest employed by the Diocese of Bathurst in New Brunswick was acquitted of indecent assault against a former altar boy in March 2010. Picot had previously been convicted of other sexual assault charges involving other young boys.

The alleged victim appealed, and in a two to one decision Justice Bell ruled for the New Brunswick Court of Appeal that the trial judge didn’t properly consider all of the evidence. The Court of Appeal ordered a retrial.

It has come to our attention that Picot has now requested leave (permission) to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Does Celibacy Cause Sexual Abuse: Debunking Myths about sexual abuse by Catholic priests

by John McKiggan

Myths About Priest Pedophilia

A reader sent me a link to an article published by the Catholic Education Resource Center titled 10 Myths about Priestly Pedophilia. The article purports to correct some of the “myths” about Catholic priest sexual abuse.

Admittedly the article is rather dated. But some of the arguments it makes to defend the Catholic Church are still being made today. So I thought some of the wildly inaccurate claims in the article were worth addressing, and correcting.

Disclosure of Names of Pedophile Priests – A Good First Step

by John McKiggan

The Archdiocese of Boston recently decided to post the names of 159 priests who have been accused of sexual abuse. The Archdiocese also noted they have received allegations against 91 other priests. However, the names of the priests involved have not been made public. There is no indication if this is because the allegations have not been validated by the Church.

Change in Policy

The disclosure represents a rather radical shift in the traditional approach taken by the Catholic Church towards allegations of sexual abuse.

Date Set for Albert LeBlanc Sex Abuse Trial

by John McKiggan

Former Yarmouth priest Albert LeBlanc is facing 50 criminal sexual abuse charges involving allegations of indecent assault and gross indecency.

LeBlanc was scheduled to appear in court yesterday to schedule a date for his trial. LeBlanc did not atend court. Instead Yarmouth criminal defence lawyer Phil Star appeared for LeBlanc to set dates.

The trial has been scheduled to starty May 14, 2012 in provincial court.

Vatican Denies Responsibility for Sexually Abusive Priests

by John McKiggan

Readers may be interested in my recent post to my Atlantic Canada Personal Injury Lawyer blog.

Vatican Denies Responsibility for Sexually Abusive Priests examines some recent American litigation against the Vatican and compares it to the situation here in Canada.

The post has been getting some interesting comments. Feel free to comment and share your thoughts.

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