Campbell, Leo (Father Leo Campbell csb)

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Father Leo Charles Campbell csb

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Basilian priest.  Ordained 1974. Said to have spent time in Southdown in the early 90s. Allegations of sex abuse reported in 2008.  Father Leo Campbell died shortly afterwards


COLUMBUS BOYS’ CAMP (Leo Campbell served as Director of Columbus Boys’ Camp from 1970-1978)

Basilian Chart – showing dates and known whereabouts of the following four known or alleged Basilian molesters: Fathers William Hodgson Marshall,Robert Whyte, Leo Campbell and Kenneth O’Keefe


28 April 2016:  BLOG What a brave brave little boy!

12 December 2012:  BLOG In the refectory

28 September 2009:  Leo Campbell:  Statement of Claim – Plaintiff name redacted.  Defendants Father Leo Campbell, Diocese Sault Ste Marie (since dropped from the claim), Congregation of St. Basil and Huron Superior Catholic District Catholic School Board

Leo Charles Campbell, CSB: 20 July 1939-14 February 2008 Basilian Newsletter 14 March 2008 

2005:  Basilians St.Mary’s College 50th anniversary reunion – picture collage

1988:  The Basilian Community at St Marys College, Sault Ste, Marie, Ontario. (1988 Excalibur yearbook)

1988:   “A few words from our Principal…” Father Leo Campbell, Principal at St. Mary’s College, Sault Ste Marie, Ontario (Excalibur yearbook) (someone who contacted me believes that the little boy in the 1942 picture is Leo Campbell)

1986:  Grade 13 Mass,  St Mary’s College, Sault Ste Marie Ontario – Father Leo Campbell concelebrating (Excalibur yearbook)

1985:  Father Hod Marshall message to students as outgoing principal and introduction of Father Leo Campbell as the new Principal at St. Mary’s College, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario (Excalibur yearbook)


The following dates are drawn from the Canadian Catholic Church directories (CCCD) of that date, the 1980 Ontario Catholic Directory, the Basilian bio published at the time of his death (BIO– scroll down or see Basilian Newsletter above), and personal contacts (P).  I am still working to clarify dates and locations. 

19 February 2008:  Funeral, Holy Rosary.  Interred at the Basilian plot in Holy Cross Cemetery

14 February 2008:  According to one source died while at Southdown or wherever he was sent for treatment. According to another he died days after being moved to a ‘safe house.’  According to blogs he died at the Basilian residence of St. Michael’s College School.

Some say strange circumstances surrounding his death, some say suicide, others say heart problems.

“Leo had been experiencing laboured breathing for a few days.  After supper he went to work on the computer.  A short time later Fr. John Malo, Rector, went to see if Leo had accessed the Internet and found that he was dead.” (Bio)

03 February 2008Holy Rosary Parish Bulletin



Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Parishioners at Holy Rosary: I wish to bring you the news that I received from Fr. Decker concerning Fr. Leo’s health and to update you with the news of the Pastoral Associate:

Fr. Kenneth Decker, the Superior General of the Basilian Fathers, has asked Fr. Leo Campbell to take a temporary medical leave from Holy Rosary Parish, effective Friday, January 18, 2008. Fr. Campbell’s medical situation is appropriately confidential. No other information is available at this time. Any personal messages for Father Campbell can be addressed here to the parish and will be forwarded to him. Work-related matters should be referred to other staff members. Any questions should be addressed to Father Decker at his Toronto Office.

Clearly Father Campbell’s absence creates challenges for Fr. Chui, Parish Staff, and many parishioners. The Basilian Fathers are working with me to meet these challenges. Please be assured that Fr. Decker and all Basilian Fathers will keep Holy Rosary Parish in its prayer at this time.

Father Kenneth Decker, C.S.B.


2008:  sex abuse allegations reported to a Basilian superior from Detroit, Michigan (P)

– according to one source it was understood that after the Basilian superior heard of the allegations Campbell was sent off  somewhere in the Newmarket area for treatment. That would probably be Aurora

2008: associate pastor at Holy Rosary Church, Toronto, Ontario (CCCD)

2002:  address and phone number for Holy Rosary Church, Toronto, Ontario (Pastor Father Paul McGill csb) (CCCD)

2001-2008:Holy Rosary Church, Toronto, Ontario (Basilian bio)

2000:1515 Bathurst Street, Toronto 653-3180 (address and phone number for Marian Movement of Priests) (CCCD)

1999:  1515 Bathurst Street, Toronto 653-3180 (address and phone number for Marian Movement of Priests) (CCCD)

1998-2000: St. Michael’s College School (Bio)

1996, 1997: address and phone number for Holy Rosary Church, Toronto, Ontario (Pastor Father Paul McGill csb) (CCCD)

1995-1998:  Holy Rosary Church, Toronto, Ontario (Bio)

1995:  address St. Thomas More College, Saskatoon (CCCD)

1994:  address St. Thomas More College, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (CCCD)

1993-1994:  St. Tomas More College, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (Bio)

1993:  1515 Bathurst St., Toronto 416-653-3180 (same address and phone no. as Father Lawrence Faye csb, Director Marian Movemner of Priests.  McCabe no longer Easter Regional rep and no longer at that address) (CCCD)

1991:  1515 Bathurst St., Toronto 416-653-3180 (same address and phone no. as Father Lawrence Faye csb, Director Marian Movement of Priests and Father P. Francis McCabe, Easter Regional representative for the Basilians) (CCCD)

1988-1993:  St. Michael’s College School, Toronto, Ontario (Bio) Principal

1980-1988:St. Mary’s College, Sault Ste Marie (Bio)(Father William Hodgson Marshall [Hod Marshall] served as Principal of St. Mary’s from late 70s to 1985)  (P)

1985-1986: listed in CCCD as 250 St. George’s Avenue East, Sault Ste. Marie.  (Should this read Sudbury, Ontario – the address of St. Charles College, Sudbury, Ontario? or is it the wrong address right city?  According to Basilian bio he was at St. Mary’s in “the Soo” )

Principal from 1985.  (took courses at York U in 1984)

-sex abuse allegations related to his time at St. Mary’s – in one instance allegedly took a group of four boys on a camping trip.  One boy taken to the hospital afterwards with rectal bleeding. (P)

1980:  350 Huron Church Rd., Windsor, Ontario – address for Assumption University. Phone number 253-2493 – phone number for Assumption Church in Windsor, Ontario.  1980 Catholic Directory also lists him at Assumption with Basilian Fathers L.J. Carney, E.J. Lejeunesse, J. Donlon, and E.R. Malley. (CCCD)

1979-1980:  Assumption Church, Windsor, Ontario (Bio)

1977-1979: St. Mary’s High School, Calgary, Alberta (Bio)

1970-1978: Director of Columbus Boy’s Camp. (the camp once operated on Lake Simcoe: it was  funded by the Knights of Columbus and, according to one website “staffed by senior high school students from various schools run by the Basilian Fathers”?)  According to bio   “ministered” at Columbus Boys’ Camp. (Bio)

circa 1976:  allegations related to his time at Columbus Boy’s Camp

1974-1977:  Assumption College School, Windsor (Bio)

15 June 1974ORDAINED at Immaculate Conception Church, Bridgeport, Nova Scotia by Bishop William E. Power, Bishop of Antigonish (Bio) Father Leo Campbell 1974 ordination and first Mass, (Immaculate Conception Parish, Brigeport, Nova Scotia 1885 1985 A Century of Faith and Community by Catherine A Godwin (1985)

said to have brought 5 or 6 young boys  – “streetkids” – from Detroit for his ordination and first Mass in Dominion.  Father Campbell allegedly told the people of Dominon that the boys were his adopted sons. The boys were all said to be in their early teens (P)

1973:  Master Divinity, St. Basil’s College (Bio)

served as deacon at St. Cecilia’s Parish, Detroit (Bio)

1968-70: taught two years at Michael Power High School, Etobicoke, Ontario (Bio)

1968:   B.A. University St. Thomas, Houston, Texas (Bio)

September 1965:  entered novitiate – St. Basil’s, Erindale, Ontario (Bio)

– Saint Francis Xavier University – three years university (BIO)

– spent time at TB sanatorium, probably at either Port Edward or Kentville, Nova Scotia (Port Edward would have been closer to Dominion.,  If there was room this would probably have been where he spent the bulk of his time) (P and BIO)

1960s –spent two years in Guelph, Ontario after he graduated from high school. (one source tells me that after graduation he spent two years in Guelph – from there was admitted to a san for treatment of TB, and from there attended St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish.  The Basilian bio indicates that he went to St.FX then to the san.  I am getting this checked (P and BIO)

– after ordination allegedly made sexual advances on young boy in Dominion.  To my knowledge these were not reported. (P)

– Said to be frequently in the company of or surrounded by children, both before and after ordination (P)

– Known to have serious drinking problem (P)

– Gifted singer. Played guitar

20 July 1939: Born in Dominion, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia (BIO)


30 November 2011: Ex-principal accused of sex abuse: Alleged victim suing school board and Basilian Fathers

12 August 2010:  BLOG I cringe at the thought

11 August 2010:  BLOG Another Basilian charged

19 August 2010:  BLOG Out of the ordinary

28 July 2010:  Delay. Delay. Delay.

23 July 2010:  BLOG The camp

18 July 2010:  BLOG Another Basilian teacher

From the Basilian Father’s Newsletter

(posted n Facebook by Kristine)
Leo Charles Campbell, CSB
20 July 1939 – 14 February 2008

Leo Charles Campbell died suddenly in the early evening of Thursday 14 February 2008 at the residence of the Basilian Fathers of St. Michael’s College School (Oriole Parkway), Toronto.  Leo had been experiencing laboured breathing for a few days.  After supper he went to work on the computer.  A short time later Fr. John Malo, Rector, went to see if Leo had accessed the Internet and found that he was dead.

Fr. Campbell’s body was brought to Holy Rosary Church, Toronto, Monday 18 February for viewing and a Vigil Service that evening.  Fr. Daniel Chui, Rector and Pastor, presided and Fr. Paul McGill gave the homily.  The following morning a Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated, also at Holy Rosary, with V. Rev. Kenneth Decker, Superior General, as Principal Celebrant and Fr. Malo as homilist.  Fr. Decker offered the Final Commendation.  Burial followed immediately in the Basilian plot at Holy Cross Cemetery, Thornhill, ON.  Fr. Donald McLeod led the prayers at the graveside.

Confreres are reminded of the usual suffrages for the repose of his soul.

Leo Charles Campbell was born 20 July 1939 in Dominion, Nova Scotia, one of eight children born to Leo and Christina (MacLeod) Campbell.  He attended both elementary and secondary school in Dominion.  After working a year, Leo began university work at St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia.  He completed three years of study but then had to suspend this to deal with tuberculosis which resulted in the removal of part of his left lung.  He was employed by General Motors and worked in Montreal, but a persistent, strong desire to become a priest remained with him and eventually led to his entry into St. Basil’s Novitiate, Erindale, Ontario in September 1965 and the professing of first vows on 12 September 1966.  Others professed that year are Edward Heidt, J.R. Stephen LaCroix, J. Michael Miller, and François Morfin.  He completed his B.A. in 1968 at the University of St. Thomas, Houston, Texas.  Prior to entering St. Basil’s College for Theological studies, Leo taught two years at Michael Power High School, Etobicoke, Ontario.  He was awarded his Master of Divinity in 1973 and served as a Deacon at St. Cecilia’s Parish (Ceciliaville) in Detroit.  Ordination to the Priesthood was celebrated 15 June 1974 in Immaculate Conception Church, Bridgeport, Nova Scotia.  Most Rev. William E. Power, Bishop of Antigonish, was the ordaining bishop.  Others ordained in 1974 include Robert Barringer, Robert Glass, Jack Hanna, Robert Moslosky, Douglas Mosey, Thomas Sepulveda, Norman Tanck, and the late Richard Killaire.

Subsequent to his ordination, Leo served in the following ministries:

Assumption College School, Windsor

St. Mary’s High School, Calgary

Assumption Church, Windsor

St. Mary’ College, Sault Ste. Marie

St. Michael’s College School, Toronto

St. Thomas More College, Saskatoon

Holy Rosary Church, Toronto

St. Michael’s College School

Holy Rosary Church, Toronto

Joyful, optimistic, hospitable, out-going, humble, patient, and gregarious are just a few of the words many people used to describe Leo Campbell.  The one word, however, which recurred most often, was love.  Leo was a man of love; he loved his family, his Celtic heritage, music, the Basilian Fathers, the priesthood, and above all, he loved God.

Leo was a people person.  He was most fully alive when he was with other people, especially at celebratory moments.  He had a great ability to bring people together, especially through his music, song, storytelling.  He took great delight in regaling others with stories, many of which suffered from a bit of “Campbell embellishment.”  As Paul McGill noted in his homily at the wake service, “True to his Cape Breton’s roots, Leo loved a party, and nothing gave him more pleasure than to host a barbeque on the back deck at Holy Rosary for family and friends…which included a full evening of music, song, and stories.”

It was also extremely important for him to share his faith with others.  As a priest, he understood himself as an instrument of God, one through whom Jesus Christ worked.  This was evident from the night he was ordained when he was called upon to attend to a person injured in an automobile accident.  He ministered in several settings: Columbus Boys’ Camp, as a high school teacher and administrator, university chaplain, and parish priest.  He had a special ability to reach out to the disenfranchised and alienated.

Just as he loved to bring people together for food, music, song and storytelling, Leo also loved to bring people together through the Eucharist.  For nearly thirty-four years, he celebrated the Eucharist faithfully and prayerfully.  He took his responsibility to preach the Gospel very seriously. The number of people attending both the Vigil Service and the Funeral Liturgy attests to the number of lives Leo touched in his various ministries as a Basilian.

Leo is predeceased by his parents, his sister Catherine, and step-mother, Jackie (Pickup) Campbell.  He is survived by brothers Arthur, Terrance, John, and George, sisters Sheila Murphy and Josephine Stoyles, step-brother, Frank Pickup, step-sister, Micky Barrett, an aunt, Mary Collins, and many nieces and nephews.  To them and to the many other friends, parishioners, and colleagues, the Basilian Fathers extend their sympathy and a promise of prayers.
May Leo rest in the peace of Christ and intercede for his family and for the Congregation of St. Basil.
Contributors: R. Madden, J. Malo, P. McGill, D. McLeod, D. Noelke

16 Responses to Campbell, Leo (Father Leo Campbell csb)

  1. Bill Taylor says:

    I have sworn an affidavit in the hope that cambell’s victums can obtain some semblance of settlement from the Basilians. I think they should close them down and distribute anythiing not necessary for the pensions of men in the community. I was a cousellor at Columbus Boys’ Camp in 1978. Campbell was there and he was a creep, pouring affection over the young campers. Jokes about not dropping the soap in the shower were not funny after young campers came to me and another cousellor to say Campbell had been going into their cabin at night and sticking his hand into their sleeping pad and fondling their genitals. We immediately went to a cool young priest with the news John Malo. Malo was furious but said little. Campbell was gone the next day. Prior to signing my affidavit I met with Fr Jon Malo CSB in Toronto, where he is chaplin St Michael’s College. He confirmed the events of 1978 and said in retrospect he’d called the police on Cambell. I hope the suit against the Basillians is sucessful.

  2. Bill Taylor says:

    That should read, in retrospect he wished he’d called the police on campbell.

  3. nicki riley says:

    This makes me sick to my stomach. May he rest in peace, not

  4. j.f says:

    I remember this guy he was a littel to friendly.i was there. 1968 to 1975. He like to play with the papoeses

  5. larry m says:

    please share my email with bill taylor

    i would like to discuss with him

    larry m
    counsellor 1978

  6. Sylvia says:

    I just sent your email address to Bill.

  7. Arrerlicetix says:

    thank so a lot for your site it aids a lot.

  8. Bill Taylor says:

    I am happy to report the suit against the Basilians was successful. They have agreed to settle for the damages inflicted on a high school student raped by Leo Campbell after moving him out of Columbus Boys Camp and Assumption High School.

    This site was instrumental in making this possible and Sylvia should take pride and persevere in the knowledge that her years of efforts in the pursuit of truth and reconciliation has borne fruit. How many more victims of Leo Campbell are out there, deserving of compensation?

    I am happy that my evidence was able to contribute to something meaningful.

    • Sylvia says:

      That’s good news Bill. And, yes, indeed, how many victims of Father Leo Campbell are out there? I know of of many, some who have come forward, some who are still struggling to find the courage to do so, and others who, for various reasons, will never speak out publicly. We must keep them all in our prayers.

      Thank you for your kind words, and thank you for stepping up to the plate!

  9. Mike Fitzgerald says:

    Bill Taylor;
    Thank you for speaking up! So many victims and/or witnesses still do not, for a variety of reasons and this can contribute to the worsening of this plague. Your courage has helped someone!
    I also agree entirely with your comments about Sylvia and her site. She and her site have been instrumental in a lot of cases. Thanks again. Mike.

  10. Dorothy Baggio says:

    So many people did not know this person did such horrible acts against children and it could have happened to one of their own by being around him.

  11. Daniel Lagrou says:

    I was a camp counselor at Columbus Boys Camp in the summer of 1971. I was one of two students from Detroit Catholic Central HS who volunteered between our junior and senior years. I heard comments from various fellow counselors regarding one of the Basilians who they claimed was sexually innapropriate towards the young campers. After 48 years I cannot recall with 100% assurance that they were referring to Leo Campbell. That being I specifically recall that the individual was in leadership position and not yet ordained as was the case with Campbell in 1971.
    An event occurred during my time at the camp that in hindsight highlights the fact that as early as 1971 the Basilians were fully aware of complaints against Campbell. The camp counselors were scheduled to have a dance with staff from a nearby girls camp for which some of the older staff had bought beer for the event. A night or two before the dance several of us were drinking beer in the counselors’s cabin and on our way back to our camp cabins we encountered the Basilian who was being talked about as abusing children. In retrospect I assume it was Campbell. Accusations of sexual abuse were made by one of my fellow counselors against the Basilian and a fist fight followed between the counselor and the Basilian/Campbell.
    The next morning I was called into the camp office and told to leave immediately. I was threatened by arrest from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police if I did not leave Canada immediately and return to the US. When I returned to my Basilian highschool in the fall no one ever followed up with me regarding what had occurred.
    One of the most sickening aspects of this whole sordid story is that the first group of campers were young children with often significant developmental and physical disabilities.

  12. Witness says:

    I knew Campbell and Fr. Paul McGill CSB who lived together at Holy Rosary Church in Toronto. They were close friends.

  13. Witness says:

    When I asked Fr. Paul McGill if Fr. Campbell had a drinking problem he replied. “Only since I have ever known him.”

  14. Witness says:

    I was discerning a vocation and was seeking guidance regarding the vow of celibacy. In response in one private conversation Leo Campbell as a priest admitted he still checked out the new releases in adult video stores. In another private conversation the priest Paul McGill admitted to being bisexual stating he was attracted to both men and women. At one point he moved to adjust the binds in the office mounting a sofa like a dog to reach them. He then proceeded to twirl his ankles in that same position for longer than an awkward moment.

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