Buckley: Father Leonard Buckley

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Priest, Diocese of Nelson, British Columbia.  Ordained 1964. GUILTY plea June 1989 to 10 charges related to sex abuse of 10 young boys, some as young as seven, over a 17-year-period.  Five year sentence.

Parents of two of Buckely’s victims told him in 1986 that they wouldn’t go to police if he sought counselling. Buckley molested again – he went to police when his therapist told him he would turn him in if he, Buckley, didn’t go to police. 


Bishops of Nelson, British Columbia during Father Leonard Buckley’s tenure:  Wilfrid Emmett Doyle  (9 Novmber 1958 – 6 November 1989 ); Peter Joseph Mallon  (6 November 1989 – 9 June 1995 – to become Archbishop of Regina, Saskatchewan);


The following information is drawn from Canadian Catholic Church Directories (CCCD) of the corresponding date which I have on hand 

1992:  not listed in directory (CCCD)

1991:  address for diocesan centre and Mary Immaculate Cathedral, Nelson, B.C.  (CCCD)

1985-86:  Pastor, St. Ann RC Church, Penticton, with mission in Naramata BC. (CCCD)

1973-74:  Box 267 Cranbrook (CCCD)  (according media reports Buckley was Principal at St. Mary’s School in Crandbrook for 15 years)

1971-72:  Quattro Fontane, Roma, Italia (CCCD)

1968-69: Student Canadian College, Quattro Fontane 117, Roma, Italia (CCCD)

1967:  Secretary, Chancery office, Nelson, BC (CCCD)



Vancouver Province

09 February 1992

Suzy Hamilton

The unholy roll-call of Roman Catholic priests in the Nelson diocese convicted or accused of molesting children includes one of the church’s highest officers.

Six priests have been charged in the past four years with sexually abusing children. Three have pleaded guilty and three are still before the courts.

A seventh priest, from the Calgary diocese, committed offences in the Nelson diocese.

* In 1988, John Monaghan, 83, the vicar-general of the diocese and Bishop Emmett Doyle’s right-hand man – pleaded guilty to 17 counts of fondling little girls for 30 years. He was jailed for four years.

* A year later Leonard Buckley, a priest who was principal of St. Mary’s School in Cranbrook for 15 years, pleaded guilty to fondling 10 boys in Cranbrook and Penticton while on camping trips with them. The 54-year-old priest got five years.

* The same year, former New Denver priest Luc Meunier was charged with assault in Ontario, Saskatchewan and New Denver, Trail and Prince Rupert for fondling children in the 1960s. The charges were laid after one of Meunier’s victims read of Monaghan’s crimes and drove all night to Nelson to report his abuse. Meunier, who died in a Florida prison awaiting extradition in 1989 at age 74, was convicted of child sex abuse in Arizona in 1975 and served two years.

* In 1990, Calgary priest Robert Whyte, 70, was sentenced in Calgary to four years for fondling boys for more than 20 years. Many of the offences took place in the Nelson Diocese.

* A Cranbrook priest faces 16 counts of sexual offences against boys and girls in Nakusp from 1958 to 1963. He is scheduled to enter a plea March 31.

* The verdict in the trial of a Westbank priest will be delivered March 9. He is charged with eight sex offences against three boys from 1982 to 1990.

* An Invermere priest is charged with one count of indecent assault in Kelowna in 1976. His preliminary hearing is May 4.

There are six dioceses in B.C. The Nelson Diocese stretches from Kelowna to the U.S. and Alberta borders. It has 40 parishes with as many priests. 


Canadian Press

August 18, 1989  02.24 EDT


A Roman Catholic priest who used tutoring sessions and camping trips as opportunities to sexually assault young boys some 1,000 times was sentenced Thursday to five years in prison.

Leonard Philip Buckley, 50, pleaded guilty June 30 to six counts of indecent assault, three of sexual assault and one of attempted sexual assault, all involving young boys.

Judge Gale Sinclair, in passing sentence, noted the offences ‑‑ committed in Cranbrook and Penticton ‑‑ involved at least 1,000 individual acts over a 17‑year period.

Buckley, who was parish priest at St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Penticton between 1985 and early this year, showed no emotion when sentenced.

Defence lawyer Wilson Rutherford recommended that Buckley be given a two‑year jail term and three years’ probation with strict conditions.

Crown prosecutor Vern Frolick had asked for an eight‑to‑12‑year prison term.

The Catholic church is standing behind Buckley and would have paid for treatment in a private institution in the United States if the judge imposed  a two‑year prison term, said Rutherford.


The victims were as young as seven, said Sinclair, who told the judge that it was reprehensible that Buckley had used his position of power, authority and trust to abuse boys.

The victims have been deeply affected by the multiple incidents, subsequently suffering from shock, depression, disillusionment, low self‑esteem and confusion about their own sexual orientation, said the judge.

Buckley held a privileged position and was held in high esteem in the communities in which he lived, said Sinclair.

“People put their spiritual lives in the hands of priests,” said  Sinclair.

The incidents came to light in 1986 when two brothers told their family what Buckley had done.

The boys’ parents told Buckley they wouldn’t go to the police if he sought counselling.

He visited a therapist in Calgary, but got involved with a Penticton boy during a trip to Manning Park in southern British Columbia last summer.

Buckley confessed the slip to the therapist, who told him to go to the police or he would turn him in.


He resigned his post as parish priest at the Penticton church earlier this year after surrendering to the RCMP.

A report on Buckley by an Ontario institute that counsels priests indicated he probably would have continued his acts if his therapist hadn’t threatened to turn him in.

The report indicated that Buckley seemed to lack appropriate concern over his actions.

Msgr. John Monaghan, 80, of Nelson, B.C., was given a four‑year prison term on Feb. 19, 1988, the first of several Roman Catholic priests charged or convicted of sex offences in British Columbia.

He was charged for offences committed against 10 young females in hospitals and private homes between 1959 and 1987.

A total of 18 priests, former priests and brothers have been charged or convicted in Newfoundland in the last several months of sexual offences involving young boys.

The scandal has triggered three Newfoundland inquires, one by the province and two by the church.


Canadian Press

June 30, 1989  13.47 EDT


A Roman Catholic priest pleaded guilty today to 10 sex charges involving boys.

Father Leonard Buckley, 50, will be sentenced by provincial court Judge Gale Sinclair on Aug. 11.

Buckley, who is not in custody, pleaded guilty to four counts of sexual assault and six counts of indecent assault.

Penticton RCMP said the incidents involved young males between 12 and 15 in the Cranbrook area, Whistler and Penticton.

Buckley was with the St. Ann’s Roman Catholic Church in Penticton.

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