Rev. Leo Landry: Molester Priest 'Told ... Not to Do It Again'

By Kathryn Marchocki
Union Leader
March 4, 2003

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After the Rev. Leo Landry admitted to Bishop Ernest J. Primeau that he molested a teenage boy in the mid-1960s, the bishop “told him not to do it again” but kept him in a Manchester parish where Landry molested two other boys, a state report said.

Landry was assigned to St. Anne Parish in Manchester in 1966 when the mother of a boy from his previous parish in Somersworth complained to Primeau that Landry sexually assaulted her son at the family’s summer camp in Milton, the report said. The boy was 13 or 14 years old at the time.

“The bishop promised (the victim’s) parents that Landry would be placed in an assignment where he would no longer be around children,” the state’s report said.

Landry, in an interview with state investigators, said the bishop told him “not to go to Somersworth anymore” and to write the boy’s mother a letter of apology.

Primeau did not send Landry for counseling and placed no restrictions on Landry’s continued ministry at St. Anne’s in Manchester where he trained altar boys. He also did not warn parishioners of Landry’s sexual misconduct.

Landry admitted to investigators that he abused two brothers at St. Anne’s and may have had sexual contact with other boys while assigned there.

The state granted Landry limited immunity in exchange for his cooperation.

Landry was transferred to St. Kieran Parish in Berlin in either 1969 or 1970. State investigators interviewed three other of Landry’s alleged victims from this parish, the state report said.

One of the victims said Landry was very good at detecting people’s “weaknesses” and preying on their “desires.”

One of Landry’s alleged victims from Holy Trinity Parish in Somersworth, where Landry served for about nine months in 1966, said Landry used the confessional to target his victims.

A former member of the Stigmatine Fathers, Landry admitted he sexually abused several minors while serving in the order. When he requested to join the Manchester diocese in 1965, Primeau accepted him without asking about his background.

Landry left the priesthood and, in 1972, married a woman he met while a priest. He lives in Rochester.

State investigators said that even though the diocese knew Landry sexually assaulted a minor in 1967 and did nothing to limit his future contact with children, the conduct occurred before the state passed a child endangerment statute in 1973. As a result, the state said it could not bring charges against the diocese in this case.


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