|Plymouth Priest under Investigation in Sexual Assault Dies
Leblanc Served in Six Parishes
By John M. Guilfoil
January 26, 2010
PLYMOUTH (MA) -- A Catholic priest who had been on administrative leave from a parish in Plymouth since February 2009 and had been under investigation in the alleged sexual assault of girls nearly three decades ago, has died.
On a personal website last year, a woman accused the Rev. Kenneth A. LeBlanc of assaulting her and other girls at Most Blessed Sacrament Church in Wakefield 30 years ago.
The Archdiocese of Boston placed LeBlanc on administrative leave from St. Peter's Church in Plymouth, where he had been the pastor.
LeBlanc, according to his family, suffered from various forms of cancer for the past decade, including renal cancer. He died Jan. 20 at 61 years old.
LeBlanc had been assigned to parishes in six Massachusetts communities over the past 34 years.
The alleged victim's website remained up yesterday, but the post detailing the abuse was removed, along with a post dated March 3, 2009, explaining that the woman "never imagined the extent of the hurtful nature" of some of comments readers would post on her website.
The Boston Globe is withholding the address of the website because it includes the victim's name.
The Globe does not name victims of sexual abuse.
An e-mail message sent to the alleged victim at the website was not answered.
Anne Barrett Doyle of the www.bishop-accountability.org, a website that tracks allegations of abuse by priests, said it was the first time in the Boston area, and possibly nationally, that someone used a personal website to report sexual abuse by a priest.
"The archdiocese prays for the repose of Rev. Kenneth LeBlanc's soul," spokesman Terrence C. Donilon said in an e-mail. "In February 2009, the Archdiocese of Boston announced that it had placed Father LeBlanc on administrative leave as a result of receiving an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor. . . . Father LeBlanc remained on administrative leave, and the case was under investigation at the time of his death."
The Rev. J. Garret Thomson of St. Martha's Church in Plainville died suddenly earlier this month, two days after he was placed on administrative leave after sexual abuse allegations surfaced.
A medical examiner ruled that Thomson, 55, died Jan. 6 of natural causes and that high blood pressure and diabetes contributed to his death.
LeBlanc was never criminally charged. A spokeswoman for the Middlesex district attorney's office, which has jurisdiction over Wakefield, said the statute of limitations on the sexual assault claims had expired.
One of LeBlanc's sisters, who asked not to be named, said in a phone interview with the Globe: "There are so many things that I could say wonderfully about him, and not because he's my brother but because he was truly a devout priest.
"He was a wonderful brother, a wonderful uncle, a wonderful son to my parents before they passed away," she said. "He was just truly a great person and loved his church."
John M. Guilfoil can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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