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  LeBrun Facing More Molestation Charges

By Gwen O'Brien gobrien@sbtinfo.com
South Bend Tribune [South Bend IND.]
Downloaded July 16, 2003

The Rev. Paul LeBrun, a former pastor of Little Flower Catholic Church in South Bend, now faces accusations of sexual contact with children in every parish in which he was assigned.

On Tuesday, the Maricopa County attorney's office in Phoenix announced a new indictment against LeBrun, which includes three felony charges of molestation of a child between July 1986 and June 1989. Two of the incidents allegedly happened while the child was with LeBrun in an office at St. John Vianney parish in Goodyear, Ariz.

The total number of similar charges against LeBrun is 12 and include alleged incidents against five boys that span 1986 to 1991. All of the counts were part of three indictments handed down by separate Arizona grand juries within the past two months.

LeBrun, a Holy Cross priest, was arrested by Indiana State Police on May 30 in South Bend on the original indictment, which included one felony count of sexual conduct with a minor for an incident involving a 12-year-old boy LeBrun allegedly knew from Blessed Sacrament Church in Tolleson, Ariz.

LeBrun, 47, did not fight extradition and was booked at the Madison Street Jail in Phoenix last month, where he is being held without bond.

The second indictment, which held eight more charges involving four victims, emerged from a second grand jury in late June. It included six felony counts of sexual conduct with a minor and two felony counts of molestation of a child. The allegations included oral sex, fondling and masturbation. A parish was not identified in that indictment.

"We continue to feel a great sense of loss as each of these additional counts or indictments come forward," Holy Cross order attorney Richard A. Nussbaum II said Tuesday about the latest indictment. "It is a very sad situation for the victims and the order, in the sense that this in not what our mission is. We are here to help people."

Nussbaum noted that the charges are all within the same time period.

"We are not getting allegations from a different time frame, which leads us to believe it was all within the same time period," he said.

"I'm not trying to minimize what happened between 1986 and 1991. It's tragic and horrible, to say the least. To our knowledge, and authority's knowledge, there is nothing (past then) and if that shows it stopped, that's a very good thing," Nussbaum said.

LeBrun was ordained as a Holy Cross priest in 1983 and was assigned as assistant pastor of Little Flower.

In 1986, the order transferred LeBrun to Arizona to work at Blessed Sacrament and St. John Vianney. In 1991, LeBrun moved to a full-time youth ministry position at Blessed Sacrament.

In 1993, he returned to Little Flower as senior pastor.

He resigned from Little Flower in 1999, apparently after Holy Cross officials learned of an allegation from a man in Arizona that LeBrun molested him as a child while they were on a camping trip. A local family had also gone to Holy Cross with similar allegations.

Last fall, The Tribune published an article in which four men in their early to mid-30s accused LeBrun of sexual abuse during his first stint in South Bend. Their cases are apparently not prosecutable because the statute of limitations has run out.

LeBrun's attorney in Arizona did not return phone calls Tuesday. A local attorney for LeBrun said after the priest's first indictment that LeBrun asserts his innocence and will be vindicated in court.

 
 

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