Gagnon: Father Leon Gagnon

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Father Leon Gagnon

J Leon Gagnon

Ordained 17 June 1928, probably for the Diocese of Chatham, New Brunswick which would later be renamed Diocese of Bathurst.   It is known that for most if not all of his priesthood he served in the Diocese of Chatham/Bathurst.    In 2004, 90-year-old Elie Theriault confided to his family that, in 1931 at the age of 16, he had been molested by Gagnon.


It is difficult to list the names of bishops from the time of Gagnon’s ordination in what is now the Bathurst diocese.  The communities in which Father Gagnon served have been subjected to boundary


Wedding picture of JG’s parents. JG’s father was 89 years old when he first confided that he had been sexually abused as a boy by his parish priest, Father Leon Gagnon. JG has fought long and hard to expose the truth and to seek an apology from “the Church” on behalf of his now deceased father and for his many siblings- JG’s blogs in that regard can be found under “Responses” at the foot of this page

changes several times, hence a boundary change could mean a change in diocese for a specific church.   For example,  the Diocese of Bathurst was once the Diocese of Chatham.  Here is the history of the diocese:  In 1860 portions of the Diocese of Saint John New Brunswick went to the newly erected Diocese of Chatham, New Brunwick.  In 1936 portions of the Dioceses of St. John and Chatham went to the erection of the Archdiocese of Moncton.  In 1938 the Diocese of Chatham was renamed the Diocese of Bathurst.  In 1944 portions of the Diocese of Bathurst went to the newly erected Diocese of Edmunston, New Brunswick.

Gagnon was definitely answerable to Bishop Chaisson (Bishop of Chatham New Brunswick – renamed Bathurst in 1938).  And Gagnon was definitely a priest with the Diocese of Bathurst from 1931 until his death in 1982.  It would seem therefore that Father Leon Gagnon was probably ordained as priest for the Diocese of Chatham (renamed Bathurst) and remained a priest with the Diocese of Bathurst until his death in 1982.

Bishops of Bathurst Diocese from 1931 to 1985:   Patrice Alexandre Chiasson, C.I.M.  (09 September 1920 –  31 January 1942);  Camille-André Le Blanc (25 Jul 1942 –  08 January 1969 ); Edgar Godin  (09 June  1969 –  06 April 1985).


On his deathbed, Elie Theriault talks about the childhood sex abuse he endured at the hands of Father Leon Gagnon (VIDEO)


14 September 2012: Jean-Guy letter to the Editor in response to Archbishop Vienneau comments

15 January 2012:  JG’s parent’s wedding picture

09 December 2010:  Word document of Michel Bastarache letter to Jean Guy Theriault (the original French pdf file will be added later)

05 June 2010:  Jean Guy Theriault letter to Michel Bastarache (French.  Word document – can be translated)

05 June 2010:  Jean Guy to Michel Bastarache (pdf)







Headstone on grave behind St. Andre Roman Catholic Church, Saint Andre, New Brunswick


Unless otherwise indicated the following information is drawn from Canadian Catholic Church Directories (CCCD) of the same date which I have on hand, and the Letter to the Editor of Jean Guy Theriault and also information received from Jean-Guy (JGT)

1982:  died (picture).  Buried in cemetery behind St. Andre RC Church, St. Andre, New Brunswick ( this is in the vicinity of Grand Falls, New Brunswick)

1973-74:  Pastor, Canadian Martyrs, Port Landry, New Brunswick( Bishop Edgar Godin) (CCCD)

1971-72:  Pastor, St. Francis Xavier, Charlo, New Brunswick (Bishop Godin) (CCCD) (according to S. Mealey Gagnon was replaced by Father Chiasson in 1970)

1970:  Retired in Balmoral, New Brunswick (JCD)  (despite reports of retirment Gagnon was listed in both the 1971-72 and 1973-74 CCCDs.  Barring errors in the CCCDs it would seem he was serving for at least a short time after 1970.)

1968-69: Pastor, St. Francis Xavier, Charlo, New Brunswick (Bishop Camille André Leblanc) (CCCD)

officiated at a wedding at St. Francis Xavier in Charlo, August 1969 (

1966-70:  Charlo, New Brunswick (JCD)

“In late 1960, early 1970, a young man, 30 years old, working on a construction site near the presbytery of the Village of Charlo, N.B. , becomes intrigued by the constant flow of young children in and out of the priest’s residence and ask one of his co-workers what that is all about..??..”…the priest is a homosexual, he pays the poor kids for sexual favours, $10.00 at a time…”. The young man is so outraged that he informs some of the elders in the community and a decision is made to meet on a particular day and to travel to Bathurst to inform the Bishop. On the day in question, A. McI. and his wife are the only ones who show up. Nonetheless, they proceed to visit the then Bishop Godin, who argues about proof, about the seriousness of the accusations, about the good character of Leon Gagnon” (JGT)  Gagnon is moved to Balmoral.

1967:   pastor at St.Theresa RC Church in the Gloucester region (Robertville?) (Bishop Camille André Leblanc) (CCCD)

1963-66:  Robertville, New Brunswick (JGT)

1963-65:  Robertville, New Brunswick  ( (Reginald tells us that he was sexually abused by Gagnon in Robertville from 1963-65)

1953-63: St. Benoit RC Church, Balmoral, New Brunswick  (JGT)

1959:  Pastor, St. Benoit RC Church, Balmoral, New Brunswick (Index of priests gives address of Allardville, but the diocesan section of the CCCD lists him as pastor at St. Benoit) (Bishop Camille André Leblanc) (CCCD)

1944-1953: Allardville, New Brunswick (JGT)

1941: new parish of Beresford, New Brunswick (JGT)

1940-41:  Drummond, New Brunswick (JGT)

1936 – 1940:  Lameque, New Brunswick (JGT)

Gagnon was re-assigned to this church by Bishop Patrice Alexandre Chiasson.  Chiasson was then Bishop of Chatham, hence the villages at the time fell within the boundaries of the Diocese of Chatham.  In 1938 the Diocese of Chatham, New Brunswick was re-named the Diocese of Bathurst.  There were no boundary changes involved in the renaming of the Diocese.

1931-35: Arsenault Siding (now St. Martin de Restigouche) (JGT)

– In 2004, 90-year-old Elie Theriault confided to his family that, in 1931 at the age of 16, he had been molested by Gagnon.

– “1935, three men, three Fathers of young boys, boarded a slow train in a small town in northern New Brunswick and traveled to Bishop Chiasson’s residence in Bathurst. They arrived late and were unceremoniously scolded and sent back on their way after reporting that Leon Gagnon, their priest since 1931, had been abusing several boys, their sons. The Bishop’s reply was to tell them that if they didn’t want this priest, they wouldn’t have any!!… The Parish of Saint-Martin de Restigouche did not again have a resident priest until 1948 ” (JGT)

“when he [Gagnon] was told of his removal from the said Parish in 1935, he directed the caretaker to ¨burn it all down!¨…The barn with three heads of cattle was burnt to the ground and another fire which had been started in the presbytery was discovered and put out by a neighbour…” (JGT)

– the village of Arsenault Siding underwent several name changes.  Before 1931 it was known as Arsenault Siding. In 1931, around the time of the arrival of Leon Gagnon, it was renamed Saint Arthur.  The new name created confusion because of the existence of another similarly named community.  In 1936, the same year that Gagnon was relocated to Lameque, the village name was changed to Lauvriere,  Then, in 1948 the village was re-named yet again and became Saint Martin Restigouche.  The new priest, Thomas Beaulieu, was  the first resident priest in the church since the Gagnon.  (I have been told that Beaulieu was assigned by the Bishop of Edmunston, Marie-Antoine Roy.  It seems then that,  with the erection of the Edmunston Diocese in 1944, the village – at one time within the boundaries of the Diocese of Bathurst – was as of then within the boundaries of the new Diocese of Edmunston)

1931:  Arsenault Siding/St-Martin de Restigouche (JGT)

– allegations of sex abuse by Elie Theriault  (JGT)

1928-1931: Petit Rocher, N.B. (JGT)

17 June 1928: ORDAINED, Grand Sault, New Brunswick (JGT)

seminary at Holy Heart of Mary in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

studied at a college in Bathurst and University of St. Joseph College in Memramcook, New Brunswick

22 November 1900:  born in St. Andre de Madawaska


Letter to the Editor of the Campbellton Tribune

from Jean Guy Theriault (the letter was published in its entirety)

11 December 2010

Letter to the editor:

In last weeks Tribune, dated 10 Dec 2010, a Mr. Bob Jensen is quite upset at the way the Catholic Church or the Bathurst Diocese is handling the abuse cases of children. Mr. Jensen I have some bad news for you; the Church is not interested in justice and certainly not in their moral responsibility which I now understand to have slipped from their collective conscience centuries ago.The Church is only interested in maintaining its control over the ¨flock¨.

I am just coming out of an eight(8) month ¨dialect¨with the Diocese over the abuse of my now deceased father. Elie THERIAULT, my father, was able to talk about the abuse which victimized him and our entire family from the time he was 16 years young. At 90 years old, in 2004, he told me for the first time that Father Leon Gagnon and another unnamed priest from Beresford had abused him. I am sparing you and my family the details! I can tell you that it happened at or about the end of July 1931 for the first time in the new parish of ¨St-Martin de Restigouche¨ My father witnessed that same priest’s physical abuse of a 6 year old orphan and he had good reasons to fear he was also sexually abused by Gagnon. There are stories of many others being abused by the same predator.

I could go on but I will simply say that the abuser, after he impregnated a young servant was simply transferred to a new parish, in Lamèque or on the island of Miscou. Later in the 1960’s the same priest was in Balmoral. The pattern has not changed over time because it worked so well!

Mr. Jensen, when Judge Bastarache’s assistant called me on the 02 dec past, he seemed genuinely happy to hear of my father’s passing! Yesterday I got an Email from Judge Bastarache telling me in a few words that the church’s legal responsibility ends with his passing.The church use to rely on divine right when dealing with the vulnerable or less educated … now they are seeking their own legal rights!

So my message I suppose is that the church will prolong and delay as long as possible and pray that the victims die off soon enough, as was evident in previous comments that came out of Brother André’s congregation when some of them were accused of abusing children.

The only way the Church will understand the scope of the damages their misguided lack of moral leadership has spawned will be at the ¨cash register¨, just like all the other businesses. With Christmas just next week, the Celebration of the Holy Birth of the ¨Messenger¨ I would encourage that all Catholics strongly think of staying away from church services that day or just bring a photo of their children to express their Love and Support for all the children who have ever gone through that physical and mental torture.They are the true victims in the image of the ¨Messenger ¨, not the Catholic Church.

My Father passed away on the 9th of July 2010. He wasn’t perfect but now I understand the damage. He did the best he could and deserves my respect, forever.

Mr. Jensen, I hope this will be helpful. I will not be in a Church on Christmas Day. I’ll pray and hope, reflect and cry with my children, that this never happens to another of the ¨small ones amongst us¨.

Jean-Guy Theriault


107 Responses to Gagnon: Father Leon Gagnon

  1. Jean-Guy Theriault says:

    I’m sorry Sylvia. Don’t mean to challenge your faith but I certainly question the biographers and the biography, the humans in the history. Our track record is not very good and to assume everything has been reported accurately and without ulterior motives is leading nowhere near a better place. We have an obligation to question the man to find the Spirit. Otherwise it is like cleaning only the room in your house where you are welcoming visitors….and leaving the rest unswept; because it is not visible doesn’t make it clean.
    We have an obligation to question.(Matthew 7:7) Not doing so is what led us here in the first place.
    Martyrs and Saints? I do have some thoughts but I’m not going there without Thomas as my lawyer. 🙂

  2. Sylvia says:

    Just make sure you don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater Jean-Guy.

  3. Jean-Guy Theriault says:


  4. Baspuits says:

    I’m sorry also, Sylvia but that phrase “don’t throw the baby out with the bath water” to me, has been used way too too many time when it comes to finding out anything about pedophilia in the church ranks,! It reminds me when father Wesley Wade réponses to a news reporter is there any other priest who are pedophiles way back in 2010? His answer was “Now let’s not start a witch hunt” .
    I guess not or how many priest has Bastarache seen victims for?? The so called guilty list?
    That saying is one sided, and must have come from “A” bishop who really had something to hide! My take!

    Amicalement Baspuits

    • Sylvia says:

      Baspuit, I mean it solely with respect to the conclusion drawn that there is not now, nor has there ever been a good, decent and holy priest in the Church, and that the Church should essentially be levelled because of the sins and crimes of these predators and those who cover-up for them. THAT to me is throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

      I thought that those who have followed Sylvias’ Site over the years know that I agree that questions should be asked and must be answered, and that I personally believe that predatory clergy and those who deliberately coverup on their behalf do not belong in the ranks of the priesthood should be exposed for what they are and removed? Perhaps not?

  5. Baspuits says:

    I still say if there was any GOOD priest, they were kicked out or sent far far away, (see Tom Doyle story) and we wouldn’t be in this mess in 2017!

    The bar is set up way to high for any person to be a GOOD priest!
    I’ll give you a couple of reasons:
    -A person to become a priest has to sign on the dotted line: never, never talk badly of the church; it also means talking badly of other priest!
    Can you say cover up!
    -They’ve started again forgiving crimes, in a little closet, that makes them to my understanding accomplices to the crime. Especially crimes of pedophilia, this since 1983. This was when in New Brunswick, it started to be a crime to abuse children and had to be reported!
    What does a priest do upon confessing a pedophile, today in 2017?
    Your answer is surely not from a good priest……..
    -To put the cherry on the cake: a priest or better yet his boss, the bishop can use a 600 year old dogma called “mental reservation”, that gives him the all mighty right to give false witness on any matter, to save the church from a scandal!
    I could go on and on, but have to save some for my upcoming book (if I can find someone with a lighter pen than my sword) on how I survived the church scandal!
    No, I did not get any answers to my questions, for me to come back to church, as one of the reason for having this “conciliation process” done !
    I say when it comes to religion, babies got to go out with the polluted water. On that day, I will be smiling……………for my kids future!


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    • Sylvia says:

      Baspuits, I lost any respect I had for Father Tom Doyle when he threw deceased Cornwall victim Dick Nadeau under the bus at the Cornwall Public Inquiry. In doing so he not only painted Dick as a liar, but gave credence to those who claimed the allegations of a paedophile ring and cover-up stemmed from people whom, so the public message went, came from liars such as Dick Nadeau.

      Efforts by Dick’s partner Carmen to right this wrong by taking the stand at the inquiry to clear Dick’s name failed. Carmen took the stand. Commission lawyers refused to raise the matter of Father Doyle perjuring himself.

      Dick, may he rest in peace – did not deserve such treatment by a priest in whom he had placed a little hope and trust – about the level which could be anticipated from any victim of clerical sexual abuse. The fact that Dick was dead made this all the worse: poor Dick was unable to defend himself.

      Sad. All of it so terribly terribly sad. The abuse, the cover-ups, the loss of faith, the lies.

  6. Baspuits says:

    If what you are saying of Tom Doyle is true, you proved my point!
    They are no good priest; I only used his story or his role in the movie “Our Father 2005” and don’t know any of his ill doings! You are who or what you protect!
    The rest of my story……………..doesn’t need an answer, just me blowing off some steam, and thanks for that opportunity.


    • Sylvia says:

      That wasn’t the plan Baspuit – I didn’t for one moment want or intend to prove your point. But, poor logic on your part. There realy are good priests. The fact that you have yet to meet one does not mean they do not exist.

      You remind me so much of Dick. And, that’s a compliment 🙂

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