Caledonia Priest Removed after Admitting Sexual Abuse
By Dan Bewley
January 8, 2007
Caledonia-- Father David LeBlanc, 71, has resigned his position as Pastor of Holy Family Parish in Caledonia. Grand Rapids Bishop Walter Hurley says Father LeBlanc admitted he sexually abused a pre-teen boy in 1971, the boy came forward in the early 90's. Bishop Hurley says he learned of the case while going through church files as part of the procedure called for in the charter dealing with allegations of sexual abuse.
The policy calls for Father LeBlanc to be removed permanently from the ministry, he can't present himself publicly as a priest, he can't wear a roman collar, and will not be allowed to go to another diocese.
Until this week, Father David LeBlanc was the pastor at Holy Family, The sexual abuse happened in 1971 when LeBlanc was at St. Jean Baptiste in Muskegon. The victim now lives out of the country, but Bishop Hurley says he's exchanged several e-mails with the man.
"He's appreciative of what has happened and the steps we have taken and seems very much at peace with things. In fact I was pleased, he seems to be in a very good place," said Bishop Hurley.
LeBlanc served at Holy Family since 1996, before that he spent 12 years at Holy Spirit in Grand Rapids. The statute of limitations for criminal charges has expired but Bishop Hurley says he reported the case to Muskegon County authorities.
In mid-December, another priest from the Diocese of Grand Rapids was removed after allegations of abuse. Father Michael McKenna also faced charges dating back to the 70's. He spent time at several parishes and was on medical leave when he was permanently removed. Authorities were notified about McKenna's case in 2003 and no criminal charges were filed.
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