Party time

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The two cases currently before the courts continue today, Tuesday, 21 January 2014:

(1)  Eric Dejaeger

Ex priest Eric Dejaeger is back in the Iqaluit courtroom this morning.  And, yes, he has thankfully been laicized (defrocked) and is now an ex priest:

20 January 2014:  Eric Dejaeger was defrocked in 2011, Oblates confirm

Amazing!  He was laicized in 2011 and not a word about it until now.  That means he was laicized some time after he was deported to Canada.  I wonder when?  And, I wonder why no move was made to have him defrocked before then?

No matter:  it is done.

This morning Justice Kilpatrick will rule on defence’s motions to dismiss a handful of charges:

20 January 2014:  Dejaeger lawyer wants seven more charges thrown out

This reminds me of a drowning man clutching at a straw.

Start time today is 09:30 am, Iqaluit courthouse.  I encourage those who can do so to attend.

Please keep Dejaeger’s many many victims and all the complainants in your prayers.  These will be particularly tough days.

(2)  Father Joe LeClair

Father Joe LeClair pleaded guilty to theft and fraud today.  By agreement the sentencing hearing began immediately.  Three witnesses were called as character witnesses.  The sentencing hearing resumes this morning at 10 am, courtroom #10, Ottawa, Ontario courthouse.

The Agreed Statement of Facts is posted:

20 January 2014:  Father Joe LeClair guilty pleas: Agreed Statement of Facts

The following media coverage of the guilty pleas is posted:

20 January 2014: “Father Joseph LeClair pleads guilty to defrauding church” & VIDEO

20 January 2014:  “Father Joe LeClair pleads guilty to fraud and theft” & related article

More to come below.

*****

I decided to head down to the Ottawa courthouse yesterday to find out what was happening with the Father Joe LeClair charges.  There was speculation there would be a guilty plea.  There was.  Father LeClair entered guilty pleas to the theft and fraud charges.  The charges of money laundering and breach of trust were dropped.  Despite the fact that about $400,000 could not be accounted for, an agreement was reached whereby it is agreed that LeClair defrauded Blessed Sacrament of $139,000.

There were 34 observers in the courtroom at ome point.  Barring media the large number of those present seemed to be Father Joe LeClair supporters.  There were hugs and kisses and smiles and greetings;

We learned that Father has been officially diagnosed as a “pathological gambler” (I have yet to look that up).

We heard that a report from a  forensic psychologist has been filed with the court.  According to  defence lawyers it contains “intimate personal material” about Father Joe.  Defence hopes to have some portions redacted and a record kept of those who views the file.

From the Agreed Statement of Facts we learned that Father Joe helped himself to the collection monies.  Read the  Agreed Statement of Facts  to see what was going on.

The character witnesses told about all the good Father Joe has done, and the 38 committees and 700 volunteers, and 10,000 parishioners and the constant activity.

But, what honestly struck me the most was that  there seemed to be one party after the other afetr the other at Blessed Sacrament during Father LeClair’s tenure.  There were parties for senior citizens, and parties for this group of volunteers, and parties for that group of volunteers, and parties for every other group of volunteers, and a sort of neighborhood bash where the whole neighborhood was invited to the party, and  then the wine and cheese parties for the youth group.   Just parties, parties, parties.  I’m serious.  And all of it was paid for by Father Joe – with church funds.

And at Christmas everyone headed over to the rectory for Father Joe’s Lobster Bisque.  Remember, we heard there were in the order of 10,000 parishioners,  Even allowing for children and those who didn’t attend that’s still several thousand people and a lot of lobster bisque.

And there were restaurant meals for some, or pizzas, or sandwiches ordered in for others.  All  paid for by Father Joe -with church funds;

One parishioner was asked by Father if she would host an event in her home for two ordinations.  She agreed, and indicated in testimony that she was more than happy to so and cover the costs .  The following day Father Joe handed her $500 cash.  The money came from the church.  That happened on both occasions.

At Christmas there were  poinsettias for every volunteer.  That’s 700 poinsettias?!!

The money just flowed.

Unbelievable.

But, it was all the talk of parties which got me the most.

No. Correction.  What bothered me most was the reminder that last year Father LeClair stood up and admitted to his parishioners that he has a gambling problem, – and flatly denied that he stole from the parish.

He lied.  This parish priest bold face lied to his parishioners.

That bothered me.  It still does.

That and all the parties. And the thievery.

And all the Catholics who think there is absolutely nothing wrong with having priests who lie and steal and gamble.

And, yes,  I’m bothered by Archbishop Prendergast’s statement.  I truly am.

So be it.

So, back tomorrow to see what each side calls for for sentencing.  I hope and pray the Crown asks for jail time.

A reminder her that Father Yvon Doiron (Bathurst Diocese) was sentenced to 18 months for stealing from his parish.

*****

I am having difficulty getting something together for the Father Labelle conviction.  I can’t say what I would like to say without fear of revealing the identity of the victim, and I don’t want to risk that.  I have to rethink.  I will however say say that, contrary to the belief of many,  this case is proof positive that there can be a conviction with one complainant.

*****

I will head to court again today.  I am getting so far behind but do want to see what is happening.  Things will settle down after tomorrow 🙂

Enough for now,

Sylvia

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8 Responses to Party time

  1. JG says:

    Sylvia, your above comment:
    “There were parties for senior citizens, and parties for this group of volunteers, and parties for that group of volunteers, and parties for every other group of volunteers, and a sort of neighborhood bash where the whole neighborhood was invited to the party, and then the wine and cheese parties for the youth group. Just parties, parties, parties. I’m serious. And all of it was paid for by Father Joe – with church funds.”

    I’m curious…there were actual parties or just reports of parties? Either way, that was probably his way of covering his tracks by having some explanation for the missing funds but at the same time “involving” everyone so that he would eventually be able to say “I wasn’t the only one”. He was helping everyone to feel “guilty” with him. Very typical in this type of fraudulent deception from the convenience store clerk who dips into the cash register(and shows the others how to do it) right to the blue collar worker who sneaks out small tools in his lunch box. They want to build a “cushion” around themselves, involve others. Probably a way to attempt to ease the conscience or simply divert attention. Regardless, a bit shocking that a priest would do this to his community. Almost $300,000.00!! That’s a lot of soup for the homeless or the families who can’t provide for their children.
    He was obviously never hungry enough to understand that!
    I can’t feel sorry for his “addiction” and “selfishness”…
    jg

    • Bob says:

      Hands up on that one. I do feel guilty in hind sight.

      Blessed S did have a lively social calendar (and continued to even after Fr. Joe left.) As a ministry head, it made it a lot easier to connect with other volunteers and get a shared sense of purpose. We celebrated a lot of special events – the ordination of several priests, including one from the military ordinariate, who interned at our parish, and there would usually be one summer and one Christmas volunteer event in addition to that.

      They were lavish in terms of food, but it was always BYOB, or a cash bar in the licensed hall.

      I really didn’t know. But feel terrible in hindsight, like I should have known. But it wasn’t the first time – Blessed S in the fifties under Canon Armstrong had been much the same – lively, with constant events hosted by everyone from the youth group to the womens’ auxiliary.

  2. JG says:

    Bob,
    In hindsight, did you get that gnawing gut feeling that all of it was just too much…with some discomfort you couldn’t explain? Or was everyone carried away in the euphoria and never pausing for a rational moment?
    What gets me in this story is that there are surely people from all walks of life from lawyers to accountants, business people to policemen in your Parish and that no one had questions. Maybe everyone thought “someone else” was a volunteer for that as well. I guess,maybe, the “gambler” was the only one counting the cards…
    That is definitely not an excuse but it shows he had a “career plan”…
    jg

    • Bob says:

      In hindsight? Yep. We had a lot of important and well off parishioners, and I think I must have told myself a few times that they must have put extra resources and effort into some of these events. Hindsight is so clear. 🙁

  3. TS says:

    Wow! PARTY TIME – so it’s OK for Christians to “party” over the misfortunes of others — or at least of “some” others (priest?)

    Somewhere along the line, I missed that!

    • JG says:

      TS,
      I think you missed a lot more! Nobody here is rejoicing or partying! The “priest” in question was the one throwing the parties, spending the money.
      May I suggest you read again from the beginning since your post doesn’t really make sense in the context of the present exchanges.
      Your Wow! came in as a …”Heuh!?”…
      The original parties themselves had nothing to do with your description also.
      Please reboot!
      jg

  4. T I says:

    I’m a Catholic, and I did attend B. Sacrament, live too far to volunteer, but I did notice FR. Joe’s sermons got worse. What bothers me is that up to the last minute he’s been denying eveything. . There are still $270.000 unnacounted for. As mentioned above, that’s a lot of soups/ surgeries/ rents, etc. for needy people. Priests have more readily access to counseling than lay folks, he could have availed himself from it, but.. the success went to his head, and like many before him, he thought he could get away w/ it

    I’m not impressed seeing him smiling out of the courtroom. There’s nothing to smile about.

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