Kelly: Father Leonard

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Leonard Joseph Kelly

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priest, diocese of  Harbour-Grace, Newfoundland (now Diocese of Grand Falls).  Ordained  05 June 1955 by Bishop O’Neill.  1988 GUILTY plea to sex assault of two boys aged 9 and 12.  Suspended sentence and two years probation. Sentence overturned by Court of Appeal.  Kelly ordered to spend four months in jail.


Bishops from time of Father Leonard Kelly’s ordination to the priesthood:   John Michael O’Neill  (08 June 1940 – 23 November 1972);  Alphonsus Liguori Penney (23 Nov 1972 – 28 March 1979) ;   Joseph Faber MacDonald  (11 January 1980 –  23 October 1998);   Martin William Currie (12 December 2000 – 01 March 2011);   Robert Anthony Daniels (01 Mar 2011 – )


The following information is drawn from Canadian Catholic Church Directories (CCCD) to which I have access, The Story of The Roman Catholic dioceses of Harbour Grace and Grand Falls (HGGF) and media (M)

29 July 2012: died at  age 81 in the Central Newfoundland Regional Heath Center in Grand Falls.  Father Leonard Kelly Obituary

2011:  living in a senior citizen’s home in Windsor, Newfoundland.  Also at the home is convicted molester Father Michael J. Walsh (CCCD)

2010: 6 Exploits Ave., Grand Falls-Windsor, NL (CCCD)

2002, 2000, 1998, 1996, 1994, 1992:  address for Diocesan Centre, Grand Falls, Newfoundland (CCCD)

January 1988:  Newfoundland Court of Appeal orders four month sentence (M)

June 1987 – GUILTY plea – suspended sentence.  Appealed (M)

1984-87: St. Joseph’s RC Church, Grand Falls-Windsor, Newfoundland

1985-86:  St. Joseph RC Church, Windsor, Newfoundland (Bishop Faber MacDonald: 1980-1998)

1971-77:  All Hallows RC Church in North River, with missions in Bay Roberts and Butlerville (HGGF)

1971-72, 1973-74:  not listed in directory (Bishop Penny 1972-79) (CCCD)

1958-70: pastor, Baie-Verte, Newfoundland with missions in Coachman’s Cove and Fleur de Lys. (HGGF)

1968-69:   pastor, Baie-Verte, Newfoundland with missions in Coachman’s Cove and Fleur de Lys.   (Bishop J.M. O’Neill: 1940-72) (CCCD)

1967:  pastor, Baie-Verte, Newfoundland with missions Coachman’s Cove and Fleur de Lys. (Bishop J.M. O’Neill) (CCCD)

1955-58:  Sacred Heart, Little Bay (HGGF)

05 June 1955:  ORDAINED

DOB:  21 October  1930


Canadian Press

January 6, 1988

ST. JOHN’S, Nfld. (CP)

The Newfoundland Court of Appeal has ordered a jail sentence for a Roman Catholic priest on two charges of sexual assault.

Rev. Leonard Joseph Kelly, 57, of Windsor, Nfld., originally received a suspended sentence and two years’ probation after he pleaded guilty last June. He was convicted of sexually assaulting two boys, aged nine and 12, over a two-year period.

Crown prosecutors appealed the sentence, and on Wednesday, the Appeal Court ordered Kelly to spend four months in jail.

The Crown, arguing that a suspended sentence failed to send a message of deterrence, had sought jail term up to one year.


The Toronto Star

02 June 1987

GRAND FALLS, Nfld. (CP) – A Roman Catholic priest received a suspended sentence yesterday after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting two 12-year-old boys. Leonard Joseph Kelly, 57, of Windsor, Nfld., also was given two years’ probation.

14 Responses to Kelly: Father Leonard

  1. Pete Nelson (birth name: David Kelly) says:

    I’m 54 years old now and last year I decided to search for my birth mother. Sadly she passed on in 2005 and was survived by my 2 half brothers and her brother, my birth uncle, Father Kelly. As my search unfolded a slew of cousins and brothers on fathers side, the horrors of father Kelly came with them. He had also damaged some of rhe family members as well. He was also responsible for forcing my mother to give me up for adoption as she was unwed. My only contact with him was by phone and he told me I was not to contact any family members and that I brought back bad memories. According to the 20 family members I talked to the bad memories are his, their all happy and awaiting my trip out there. Im glad my wife found your website, your facts all seem to be correct and his prey was more than he was charged with from stories I have. There is alot of bitterness towards Father Kelly and there are none that have anything to do with him since my mom passed on in Boston. After he was charged from what I am told he couldn’t perform acts like marriage or funerals priest stuff unless he had special permission from the higher up. As much as I have mixed feelings knowing my mom never wanted to give me up, and have heard the stories from her friends that she tried to find me after, My life with my adopted parents was great and I was well loved and cared for, The ones I have heard were Father Kelly’s prey were not so fortunate and it carried a life scar. I am relieved to know that because of his actions he will leave this earth a lonely man.

  2. Sylvia says:

    Thank you Pete for sharing what you discovered in your quest to find for you birth mother. Father Kelly now becomes a skeleton in your closet, but, we all have them, do we not?

    Your comments are a reminder to us all that many if not all families of clerical molesters have their own crosses to bear.

    It is good to know that you were loved and well-cared for by your adoptive parents, loved and wanted by your birth mother, and exciting to know that you will soon be meeting with members of your newly found family and extended family. God speed you on your journey.

  3. Michel Bertrand says:

    Pete you have nothing to be ashamed off.. Your family loves you both adoptive and biological. You are yet another survivor of a criminals meandering into the lives of the innocent. He used his position of authority to brow beat your mother into letting you go. You are no less a victim of his abuse, he took a moral position the he had no right to take and bullied your mother. I don’t think Christ would have used guilt in counselling your mother as he was equally loving to kings and paupers. I believe that your higher power placed you tenderly and lovingly into the hands of your loving adoptive family because you brought such joy to their lives. Kelly hopefully will be constrained from ever hurting others by act or influence. Stand proud open the door and leave him and his little piece of effect on your life in that closet..We shine the light of truth and stand loved and cared for by a presence greater than ourselves this is what sets us free.. Blessings brother.

  4. Still Carrying the cross says:

    I was molested by this man when he was in North river. I now years later am only begining to come to terms to what this mosnter did.
    He will never be tried for his crimes against me and the other altar servers in All hallows on this earth.
    The scares are are still visable.

  5. Jack sprat says:

    Father Kelly, lol there was rumors floating around in deer lake nfld that he was shagging one of the catholic school teachers over in the cabin at old bombay pond. Man ,that catholic organization is nothing but a bunch of foolishness. Pffffff… power ,wich there looseing big time and total corruption …. I hope it crumbles to the ground… I got no faith or respect for that religion anymore they messed up to many lives…

  6. Carol says:

    *I am the wife of Pete Nelson. Pete’s mother was Doreen Kelly and it was Father Kelly her brother who forced his mother to give him up for adoption. When my  husband Pete finally made contact with his Kelly family his mother Doreen had already sadly passed away. This man so called Father Kelly actually told Pete he was a secret that was never supposed to have been known. I guess he thought his secret would die with him. Please be advised that Leonard Kelly passed away July 29, 2012    Sadly he apparently has left behind a legacy of pain for many.  Now he will face his judgement 

  7. Karen says:

    * Carol,   I grew up next to Doreen’s brother and his family.   I had the pleasure several times over my life to meet Doreen and her sons, I remember her as a very kind and beautiful person as were all.  I hope that Pete (David) gets to meet this Kelly family because they are all beautiful people.

  8. Carol says:

    * Thank you Karen so much for the response  Pete has been trying to piece any info on his mother Doreen that he can. He has been welcomed by all his Kelly cousins and he has even made email and some phone contact with his father’s son  (Ray Philpott)  Sean.  The only one who treated him unkindly was Father Kelly  

  9. Sylvia says:

    Thank you Carol for the news of Father Kelly’s death.  Someone else directed me to his obituary so I have now added two pictures, the obituary and a few other pieces of information.

    It is good to hear that Pete has connected with and been welcomed into what I now know is a large Kelly clan.  I am sure many, if not all, all have very mixed feelings on the death of Father Kelly.  My prayers are with you all.

  10. Leona says:

    I’ve been reading through the L.A. archdiocese files, and as much as I’m appealed by Cardinal Mahony’s coverups, he did the right thing when Fr. Neville Rucker was planning for his funeral. Here’s his response for Rucker’s request to be buried in a Catholic cemetery.

    P 134

    Neville Rucker will not Be permitted to be buried in any priest’s plot in any cemetery – Policy: only deceased priests in good standing are permitted to be buried in these plots, Rucker is no longer a priest.

    Cardinal Mahony

    6 Sept 2008

    Too bad our Canadian bishops don’t follow that principle.

  11. John says:

    One act of contrition does not make a saint.

    John MacDonald

    • col says:

      Sylvia ,I commend you on your dedicated task .I know you could pick up my address from my e-mail but I ask you not to do so .I will read your response online.
      I just want to add my feelings on the matter and state that Father kelly assaulted many more than two boys and one youth was even his young relative .
      He tried to approach our son ( hence my reason for anonymity ) and was about to start his grooming process on our son but he got no farther than one minor incident .My wife and I confronted him in his office after the school principal made an appointment for us to discuss the matter which never got too far .When we told him what our son had reported to us .He would would take young kids on his knee in a closed room on school property .When he ran his hand up the outside of our son’s leg , that was the start of his grooming process .I asked our son what did you , he said i jumped down and gave him my elbow .”

      The day we confronted this pervert priest and described what he had done , his eyes darted all around his office and he said “My God, I hope he never thought that “.

      When we exited Kelly’s office at his Church , my wife , a soon- to- be lapsed R.C. said “I never believed a word the bastard said” and I agreed saying I never believed the pervert either.She never returned to her R.C. Church . The Bishop was supposed to have been told about the incident but if he was informed he took no action .This pervert priest continued his ministry if I could term it that and it was two years later before he was sent a local correctional facility in Bishop’s Falls , just nine miles from our home town .I believed he got four months .he had two more years of ruining young lives .
      When he was released from the correctional center and got out of his car on his Church property he was asked by a grounds keeper ,”how do you feel Father kelly”, the pervert looked skyward and exclaimed “I feel wonderful, just wonderful” . No contrition, no remorse, nothing .For sure ,he must be in hell if such a place exists and I hope it does .

      • Sylvia says:

        Thank you col. I would dearly love to talk to you 🙁 But, I understand. I am also so terribly sorry to read of the suffering this man has wrought upon you and your family. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

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