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  Accused Priest Leroux Has Died

By Mike Goodwin
Times Union (Albany, New York)
January 31, 2005

Edward N. Leroux, one of the first priests removed from ministry by the Albany Catholic Diocese for child sexual abuse, has died. He was 75.

Leroux died at Glens Falls Hospital on Jan. 16 after a brief illness. Though he removed Leroux from active ministry, Bishop Howard Hubbard officiated at the fallen priest's funeral at St. Mary's Church in Glens Falls.

Leroux and five others priests were removed by the Albany diocese leadership in June 2002. They were the first area clergy forced out of the ministry after the U.S. Conference of Bishops adopted a strict policy weeks earlier that banned all priests with any known history of abusing minors.

John Aretakis, an attorney for at least three men who claim they were abused by Leroux in the late 1970s and early 1980s, said his clients felt cheated because they will never be able to confront their abuser. Aretakis said one of Leroux's victims was 12 at the time of the abuse and the other two were 14 when it began.

He said one client grew outraged as the lawyer broke the news by phone that Leroux had died.

"He's inconsolable and distraught," Aretakis said.

Aretakis also questioned why an obituary for Leroux didn't appear in area newspapers until Sunday, 14 days after he died and more than a week after the funeral. He also said the diocese should have alerted the victims that their alleged abuser had died.

"They wanted to have the death slip under the radar screen," he said.

He also questioned Hubbard's decision to officiate at the funeral for a priest the church leaders believed had sexually abused minors.

Church officials defended the move.

"There is a certain level of forgiveness that is part of Catholic teachings," Diocese spokesman Kenneth Goldfarb said of Hubbard's appearance at the funeral, adding it is "customary for Bishop Hubbard to preside at funeral liturgies for priests."

Though he was removed from active ministry, Leroux was never laicized, the Catholic action of formally removing a cleric from the priesthood.

Leroux was in residence at St. Mary's Church during the years before his removal.

He was one of three suspected pedophiles who had been connected to the church in recent years, a revelation that angered some parishioners who accused the diocese of using the parish as a dumping ground for troubled priests.

 
 

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