UPDATED BREAKING NEWS: Priest charged with possession of child pornography

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Niagara News Now

Bullet News

08 December 2011

JOHN ROBBINS/Bullet News

Fr. Rheal LeBlanc

 

WELLAND – A Roman Catholic priest and former high school principal has been charged with possession of child pornography after police executed a search warrant at a Welland residence on Thursday.

The arrest follows an investigation by the Niagara Regional Police service’s Internet Child Exploitation Unit, Child Abuse Unit, Technological Crimes Unit and uniform officers.

During the search of the undisclosed address, police say they seized a number of computer systems and peripheral devices allegedly containing evidence.

Rheal LeBlanc, 76, is charged with one count of possession of child pornography.

A police media release issued Thursday afternoon disclosed no further details about the accused.

However, Bullet News was able to confirm through sources the accused is a Roman Catholic priest and educator, who served as the first principal of St. Paul Catholic High School in Niagara Falls, when the school opened in 1982. LeBlanc retired in 1994.

Prior to his time at St. Paul, he was principal at Notre Dame Catholic High School, in Welland.

LeBlanc was held in police custody pending a bail hearing this afternoon in St. Catharines.

Monsigneur Wayne Kirkpatrick, of the Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Catharines, said the diocese has been made aware of the arrest and will follow all of its protocols for dealing with such circumstances.

“We are shocked and saddened at this news,” said Kirkpatrick, saying not much more can be said at this time because it is a matter that is now before the courts.

“The Diocese will cooperate with any (police) investigation,” he said.

Police say their investigation is ongoing.

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Welland man busted for child porn

CKTB News

08 December 2011

Siobhan Morris, 610 CKTB News


A Welland senior has been busted for child pornography.

Police searched a home in the Rose City Thursday.  They seized a number of computer systems.

76 year-old Rheal Leblanc is facing a charge of possession of child pornography.

According to Bullet Media, Leblanc is a catholic priest who served as St. Paul Catholic High School’s first ever principal when the school opened in Niagara Falls back in 1982.  Prior to that, he was the principal at Welland’s Notre Dame Catholic High.

Niagara Regional Police are continuing their investigation.

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Welland man busted for child porn

ez rock 105.7

Siobhan Morris, 610 CKTB News

12/8/2011


A Welland senior has been busted for child pornography.

Police searched a home in the Rose City Thursday.  They seized a number of computer systems.

76 year-old Rheal Leblanc is facing a charge of possession of child pornography.

According to Bullet Media, Leblanc is a catholic priest who served as St. Paul Catholic High School’s first ever principal when the school opened in Niagara Falls back in 1982.  Prior to that, he was the principal at Welland’s Notre Dame Catholic High.

Niagara Regional Police are continuing their investigation.

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Priest, retired principal faces child porn charge

St. Catharine’s Standard

08 December 2011

By Maryanne Firth, QMI Agency 

WELLAND — A former Notre Dame College School principal and member of the Holy Cross Fathers has been arrested and charged with possession of child pornography.

The Niagara Regional Police Internet child exploitation unit carried out a search of a Welland home on Thursday following an investigation that began in November.

A number of computer systems and peripheral devices were seized as evidence.

Rheal LeBlanc, 76, of Welland, was arrested and charged with one count of possession of child pornography.

Police have confirmed Leblanc is a Niagara St. resident. The Holy Cross Fathers reside at 201 Niagara St., where Notre Dame was founded.

Father Don Layden, who also resides at 201 Niagara St., confirmed the former principal was the man arrested Thursday.

Rev. LeBlanc was Notre Dame’s fifth principal, holding the position at the Smith St. school from 1972 to 1982.

When a $4.4-million expansion was completed at Notre Dame in 2004, the school’s new cafeteria was renamed LeBlanc Hall in honour of the former principal.

Following his time at Notre Dame, LeBlanc became the first principal at Saint Paul Catholic High School in Niagara Falls when it opened its doors in 1982. He remained at the school until he retired in 1994.

As a result of a bail court appearance Thursday afternoon, LeBlanc was released to appear in court on Jan. 25.

According to a police news release, investigation into the matter is ongoing.

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