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  Former St. Monica's Priest Accused of Sexual Abuse

By Tim Mc—arthy
The Eagle Tribune
February 24, 2009

http://www.eagletribune.com/punews/local_story_055000851.html

METHUEN ó Former St. Monica's Parish priest the Rev. Kenneth LeBlanc is on leave from his ministries after accusations that he sexually abused a child 30 years ago.

LeBlanc served as a temporary parochial vicar at St. Monica's from December 2001 until April 2002, according to Boston Archdiocese spokeswoman Kelly Lynch. He was most recently serving as pastor at a Plymouth, Mass., church.

The archdiocese announced it put LeBlanc on leave Sunday. A representative said the decision to place him on administrative leave is proof of its commitment to the safety of all involved in the matter and does not indicate that LeBlanc is guilty.

LeBlanc gave a January 2002 sermon at St. Monica's, after revelations that former parish priest Ronald Paquin had molested children there. Paquin became the first priest in the Boston Archdiocese sex abuse scandal to plead guilty.

At the time, LeBlanc told 800 parishioners the church ought not be defined by the actions of "bad apples" within it.

"We are a church of saints and sinners," LeBlanc said. "We must be sure that our faith is grounded in the right place, and that it is not in you, or me, or the pope, or Cardinal Law, or anyone else. Our faith must be grounded in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the glue that holds us together."

LeBlanc's alleged victim created a Web site in 2008 to "expose the Monster who stole my youth, happiness, faith in God and ability to trust people in authority."

On her Web site, she includes an e-mail she sent to LeBlanc, as well as his reply.

"I can't ever remember you teaching me to read the bible or refer to the bible for anything. I do, however, remember you forcing me to sit on your lap, and I especially remember you taking all your pictures and telling me to unbutton my shirt," she wrote. "I remember vividly walking home from school and looking around corners to hide from your car as you looked to give me a ride."

LeBlanc wrote back: "I know that I too am in need of God's mercy and forgiveness in my life for the times that I have fallen short of what God asks of me. I have not taken young people in my car alone for years as I am aware of the possible dangers that could be involved."

LeBlanc's e-mail also noted that for the past nine years he has been battling cancer that has spread to his kidneys, pancreas, and lungs.

St. Monica's co-pastor the Rev. James B. Clark refused to comment about LeBlanc, saying only that he served the church before the current staff was in place.

Lynch said LeBlanc worked throughout Massachusetts over his career, including in Newton, Needham, Hudson, Wakefield and Medway.

 
 

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