Archdiocese official mum on whether financial audit of Blessed Sacrament Church will be released

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Ottawa Citizen

27 April 2011 12:15 PM

By Andrew duffy and Meghan Hurley

OTTAWA — The Archdiocese of Ottawa will not commit to a public release of its financial audit of Blessed Sacrament Church.

Msgr. Kevin Beach, vicar general of the archdiocese, said he does not know when the ongoing audit will be completed.

Asked if it will be made public when it is finished, Beach replied: “I can’t say that today.”

The audit was launched in early March after financial irregularities at the church were brought to the attention of diocesan officials.

The firm Deloitte and Touche LLP was brought in to examine Blessed Sacrament’s books. Auditors raised questions about $250,000 worth of cheques issued to Rev. Joseph LeClair from church accounts between 2006 and 2010.

Financial controls at the church were lax at the time. LeClair had the authority during those years to issue a cheque, even to himself, without another signature.

Many of the transactions had no receipts or other documentation to support them.

The auditors subsequently recommended a number of measures to improve financial accountability at the church, a registered charity. For one thing, cheques must now be counter-signed.

This past weekend, LeClair, who has admitted to a gambling problem, announced his intention to leave Blessed Sacrament.

The decision was his own, LeClair told parishioners, and was made in consultation with his family and with Archbishop Terrence Prendergast. LeClair said he is “transitioning,” and has not yet decided whether to quit the priesthood altogether, seek another posting within Ottawa, or move back to Prince Edward Island where he was born and raised.

Beach said Wednesday that he first learned of LeClair’s decision when he read about it in the Citizen.

Asked if that means the diocese did not ask LeClair to leave, Beach said: “I am not going to get into any of those comments. We will be having discussions with Father LeClair.”

Earlier this month, the Citizen revealed that LeClair received more than $137,000 in cash advances on his credit card at Casino du Lac-Leamy during 2009 and 2010.

LeClair racked up personal credit card bills of more than $490,000 and repaid Visa more than $424,000 during those years, according to documents obtained by the newspaper.

LeClair, who earns a net salary of $24,400 as a church pastor and supplements that income with payments for specific services such as officiating at weddings, has repeatedly denied taking money from church coffers and has said that he financed his gambling through winnings and personal funds.

Asked if the diocese has seen records or documents that support LeClair’s position, Beach said: “I have no comment on that.”

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Diocese mum on financial audit

Won’t commit to release of findings

Ottawa Citizen

27 April 2011

By Andrew Duffy and Meghan Hurley

The Archdiocese of Ottawa will not commit to a public release of its financial audit of Blessed Sacrament Church.

Msgr. Kevin Beach, vicar general of the archdiocese, said he does not know when the ongoing audit will be completed.

Asked if it will be made public when it is finished, Beach replied: “I can’t say that today.”

The audit was launched in early March after financial irregularities at the church were brought to the attention of diocesan officials. The firm Deloitte and Touche LLP was brought in to examine Blessed Sacrament’s books.

Auditors raised questions about $250,000 worth of cheques issued to Rev. Joseph LeClair from church accounts between 2006 and 2010.

Financial controls at the church were lax at the time. LeClair had the authority during those years to issue a cheque, even to himself, without another signature.

Many of the transactions had no receipts or other documentation to support them.

The auditors subsequently recommended a number of measures to improve financial accountability at the church, a registered charity. For one thing, cheques must now be counter-signed.

This past weekend, LeClair, who has admitted to a gambling problem, announced his intention to leave Blessed Sacrament.

The decision was his own, LeClair told parishioners, and was made in consultation with his family and with Archbishop Terrence Prendergast. LeClair said he is “transitioning,” and has not yet decided whether to quit the priesthood altogether, seek another posting within Ottawa, or move back to Prince Edward Island, where he was born and raised.

Beach said Tuesday that he first learned of LeClair’s decision when he read about it in the Citizen.

Earlier this month, the Citizen revealed that LeClair received more than $137,000 in cash advances on his credit card at Casino du Lac-Leamy during 2009 and 2010.

LeClair racked up personal credit card bills of more than $490,000 and repaid Visa more than $424,000 during those years, according to documents obtained by the newspaper. LeClair has repeatedly denied taking money from church coffers and has said that he financed his gambling through winnings and personal funds.

3 Responses to Archdiocese official mum on whether financial audit of Blessed Sacrament Church will be released

  1. Sylvia says:

    Now why in the name of goodness will the Archbishop not commit to releasing the audit? If there is no indication of wrong-doing, then surely it should be released in Father LeClair’s defence? If there is indication of wrong-doing, then surely Catholics have a right to know?

  2. Lina says:

    I agree it is fishy!

    “Archbishop Terrence Prendergast” and “Msgr. Kevin Beach” are they two people who did not know about the recent fiasco of not knowing about this Father John McCann omi

    Oblate priest. Ordained 28 May 1955. 1991 – six charges related to sex abuse of girls under age 16 in the 70s. CONVICTED. Served 10 months in jail.

    Actively ministering in the Archdiocese of Ottawa for a number of years, both at St. Brigid’s Church and. for the past four years or so, at Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Removed early this last May 2011 (last month) after publicity regarding his presence at Our Lady of Mount Carmel?

    Should we trust the words of these two men? “Archbishop Terrence Prendergast” and “Msgr. Kevin Beach.”

    Think about it folks. Cover-ups?

    Lina

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