Arizona Court of Appeals Upholds Conviction of Priest

By Jim Walsh
Arizona Republic
July 14, 2009

The Arizona Court of Appeals affirmed the convictions and sentence of a Roman Catholic priest who was found guilty of sex crimes while he was assigned to parishes in Avondale and Tolleson.

The Rev. Paul LeBrun was found guilty by jurors in 2006 of three counts of sexual conduct with a minor and three counts of child molestation. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Crane McClennen gave LeBrun the maximum sentence of 111 years in prison.

The appellate court found that McClennen correctly decided to try all charges together rather than separately. The charges stemmed from sex acts committed with three boys who ranged in age from 11 to 13 and occurred between 1986 and 1991 at St. John Vianney Church in Avondale and Blessed Sacrament Church in Tolleson.

The Court of Appeals also back McClennen's decision to allow four of LeBrun's Indiana victims to testify during the trial to show a propensity to abuse young boys. LeBrun was assigned to a church in South Bend, Ind., before his transfer to Arizona.


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