Plea deal in offing?

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An intriguing update on the upcoming January 2014 courtdates for Father Joe Leclair

I will post the article here for now:

Is plea deal in works for Father Joe Leclair?

 The Ottawa Citizen

20 December 2013


Is plea deal in works for Father Joe Leclair?

Father Joe LeClair was charged with fraud, theft, money laundering and breach of trust in July 2012 after an 11-month police investigation.

OTTAWA — All of the witnesses subpoenaed to testify at the preliminary hearing for Rev. Joseph Leclair have been cancelled, suggesting a plea deal may be in the works.

The witnesses were contacted by Ottawa police Friday — a month before the Jan. 20 preliminary hearing was set to begin — to inform them they were no longer needed.

The Citizen has also learned that several days set aside for the former Blessed Sacrament Church pastor’s preliminary hearing have been cancelled.

Leclair’s lawyer, Matthew Webber, would not comment Friday.

Leclair was charged with fraud, theft, money laundering and breach of trust in July 2012 after an 11-month police investigation.

The police investigation, which covered the period from January 2006 to May 2011, found that more than $240,000 was allegedly misappropriated through cheques issued by the priest on church accounts. Another $160,000 of parish funds were unaccounted for, the police said.

The Citizen raised serious questions about financial irregularities at Blessed Sacrament in an article published in April 2011. It revealed Leclair was a casino gambler and that he had incurred $490,000 in personal credit card bills during the years 2009 and 2010.

More than $137,000 of those credit card charges were the result of advances taken at Casino du Lac-Leamy.

The Citizen also discovered that Blessed Sacrament had few controls on the way in which church money was handled. Leclair had the ability to write cheques to himself without receipts, Sunday collections were kept in an unlocked rectory office and often not counted for days, and the church’s finance committee did not meet to review financial statements.

Rob Lewis, a member of the parish finance council, announced in late October that Blessed Sacrament Church had been awarded an insurance settlement of more than $379,000.

The settlement was handed over after the Archdiocese of Ottawa made a claim for the money police allege was stolen by Leclair.

Lewis told parishioners at the time that the settlement helped close a dark chapter of turmoil, embarrassment and anger.

Lewis told parishioners that a reserve fund created for emergencies using a portion of the settlement has already made $15,000 in interest.

The $379,295 settlement was used to clear Blessed Sacrament’s financial deficit and fund repairs and maintenance at the church, hall and rectory, Lewis said.

News that the insurance settlement cleared the church deficit was met with a round of applause at an Oct. 27 mass. At the end of 2012, Blessed Sacrament was more than $64,000 in the red.

An email obtained by the Citizen that was sent to dozens of people this month asked for letters of support for Leclair to be sent to Webber by Jan. 6.

The email asked those who had previously sent a letter to Leclair’s lawyer to send an updated one.

It can’t be longer than two pages, should explain what Leclair has done for the letter writer, their family or the parish and should not discuss the charges or the court case, the email said.

At the end of the email, a parishioner passed on Leclair’s thanks for the support and solicited donations for his legal expenses.

“Over and above legal costs, he is experiencing personal expenses as it draws closer hopefully to an end,” the email read. “If you’d like to send him a Christmas note and help him in a financial way, or just pass on your best wishes, his address is given below.”

An Edmonton address was given, though Leclair has apparently been staying with parishioners in Ottawa.


Are the requests for letters of support for Father LeClair tp be used for a sentencing hearing ?

Witnesses cancelled.  And sounds like most if not all days set aside for the preliminary hearing cancelled?  I can`t check while I`m away, but it does sound as though the preliminary hearing is no longer a go?  Perhaps day one (20 January 2013) will proceed with a plea?

We shall see…


We arrived at our destination safe and sound on Friday evening.  Yesterday evening a son and his family from Canada arrived  -we truly were happy to see them pull into the drive way.  They came very close to cancelling their trip yesterday morning  due to inclement weather forecasts for virtually everywhere along their travel route, but they decided to hit the road, and see how they fared.  It was not a pleasant drive, but once across the border they successfully steered clear of freezing rain and heavy snow..

With bad weather across much of the country I do hope that those of you who plan to travel for the holidays are as fortunate as we and that you will be able to reach your destination safely.

Enough for now,


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8 Responses to Plea deal in offing?

  1. northern fancy says:

    So, donations of funds are encouraged …. to be sent directly to Father Joe … a man who apparently is struggling with gambling- addiction issues…. and that is going to HELP him? Someone deserves the Darwin Award.

  2. Bob says:

    Well if it is an Edmonton address and he is not in Edmonton, it sounds like it wouldn’t be directly per se.

    With that said, if a man needs his friends, I would expect around the time of a possible criminal sentencing (if MH has read this right) would be when you would most need them. The legal expenses would certainly be real enough.

    I am hoping we just finally find out what the what is here, so we can put this behind us. What a nightmare this has been. And this, for us, is about financial matters – it gives me a new appreciation what parishes with an abuse case must go through.

  3. Mike Fitzgerald says:

    The settlement the parish got as a result of his apparent criminal activity is larger on average than settlements received by victims of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests.
    Also of remarkable note is the speed in which the parish received the money. I guess “father” Joe is more important than we are. Mike.

  4. Mike Blum says:

    You could not have said that better Mike, that is exactly what I was thinking. They got their settlement with no criminal conviction,

  5. loretta craig taylor says:

    Why would the Archdiocese withhold the settlement money from Blessed Sacrament church, when it was so badly needed to help with that parish’s financial troubles?

    Why would the two Mikes compare this financial abuse (by a self-admitted gambling addict) to sexual abuse cases? Apples and oranges?

  6. Ceilidhe says:

    The church sure acts faster when a priest steals their money than when a priest molests our children! Like I’ve said and continue to say, it’s all about the money. Until the Catholic church gets rid of all their child molester priests I will not give them one cent. They will not act until they are hurt financially and this proves my theory!

  7. Mike Fitzgerald says:

    Loretta craig taylor;
    The point I have made regarding the rather swift re-imbursement of this parish has everything to do with sexual abuse and/or financial abuse, as you call it.
    My point is that there are literally hundreds of sexual abuse victims that have waited far longer for a financial settlement than this parish had to wait to be re-imbursed for their so-called financial abuse.
    You say how badly needed this settlement was for the parish’s financial woes, because of the criminal actions of one of it’s very own clergy, and I couldn’t agree with you more!
    What you neglect to acknowledge in your statements is the far more desperate need a lot of victims of sexual abuse by catholic priests have regarding financial compensation. A lot of victims (myself included) have lived a very long life of anguish, torment, and financial ruins as a direct result of sexual abuse by some of these priests.
    I have found, as have hundreds of others, that the particular diocese that has housed and employed a sexually abusive priest will fight a financial settlement for a particular victim at great lengths and huge costs. They will refer to the victim quite frequently as a liar, a sham, a gold digger, etc. etc. etc……
    Yet, when one of their own dips into the coffers criminally, they are extremely quick to approach their insurance companies to get their money back, and in this case very quickly.
    I just wish the church, and people like you, would open their eyes to this reality. What’s good for the goose should be just as good for the gander, don’t you think? Mike.

  8. Mike Fitzgerald says:

    By the way Loretta, I would really like to be able to announce to the world that I now have fund “for emergencies” that accrues $15,000.00 annually in interest as the result of a $379,000.00 settlement. It would go a long way to paying off my own personal debts.
    Unfortunately that has not happened to me, and I believe that I have paid a far greater price through the last 40 years of my life than the Blessed Sacrament Church has over their so-called “financial abuse”.
    The term you use (financial abuse) strikes me as a lame attempt on your part to minimize the impact of the obvious criminal fraud, money laundering, and theft.
    I haven’t been able to find “financial abuse” in the Canadian Criminal Code. Could you tell me where to find it? Mike.

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