Levasseur: Father Almer Levasseur

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Priest, Diocese of Edmunston, New Brunswick.  Ordained 21 June 1962.  1998 GUILTY to possession of child pornography – $1,000 fine plus banned from surfing the internet for three years

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Bishops of Edmunston from time of Father Levasseur’s ordination:  Joseph-Roméo Gagnon  (12 February 1949  – 18 February 1970) ; Fernand Lacroix, C.I.M.  (19 August 1970  – 31 May 1983) ; Gérard Dionne (23 November 1983  – 20 October 1993) ; François Thibodeau, C.I.M. (22 October 1993  – 05 January 2009)

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The following information is drawn from Canadain Catholic Church Directores which I have on hand, media (M) and an obituary (O)

27 March 2005:  Died in Quebec City (O)

lived with the Marist Fathers in the years prior to his death (O). He served as chaplain at hospital in  Côte de Beaupré, Quebec (O) (The hospital is in the Archdiocese of Quebec)

2002: 4947, rue Clement Locqueil, app 209, St. Augustine-de-Desmaurie, QC (CCCD) (address for the Marist Fathers)(Marist Provincial Father Jean Martel sm)

2000:  30 rue Bouchard, Edmunston, NB with phone number for Edmunston Diocesan Centre (CCCD)

1999:  4947, rue Clement Locqueil, app 209, St. Augustine-de-Desmaurie, QC (CCCD) (Marist Provincial Father Jean Martel sm)

October 1998: GUILTY plea to possession of child pornography (CCCD)

1998, 1997, 1996:  Pastor, Saint-Sacrament Roman Catholic Church, Saint Quentin, New Brunswick (assisting at parish, Father Narcisse Gagnon) (CCCD)

in charge of marriage prep for the diocese (CCCD)

1995:  Rector at  Immaculate Conception Cathedral (CCCD)

in charge of marriage prep for the diocese (CCCD)

1995:  Scouting award presented by Governor General Ed Schreyer  at the International Boy Scout Jamboree in Sweden.

1994, 1993, 1992, 1991:  Rector at  Immaculate Conception Cathedral (CCCD)

in charge of vocations (CCCD)

in charge of marriage prep for the diocese (CCCD)

19851986: Immaculate Conception Cathedral (Rector Mgr. Eymard Desjardins) (CCCD)

in charge of “Conseil Presbyteral”

in charge of vocations

1980: Recipient of the Vanier Medal for work as a chaplain and organizer of the Boy Scouts .  The medal was presented by Governor General  Jeanne Sauvé (O)

1973-1974:  St. Basile Roman Catholic Church, Madawaska (Pastor, Father Rino Albert)(CCCD)

in charge of Boy Scouts (CCCD)

in charge of Liturgy of the Diocese (CCCD)

1971-72: Pastor, St. Basile Roman Catholic Church, Madawaska (CCCD)

in charge of Boy Scouts (CCCD)

“movement jeunnesse en marche” (CCCD)

regional vicar (CCCD)

1968-69: St. Francis of Assissi Roman Cathoic Church, Madawasca (Pastor Father Lionel Daigle) (CCCD)

1967:  St. Jacques Roman Catholic Church, Madawasca (Pastor Father Camille Cote) (CCCD)

1962:  ORDAINED in St.  François de Madawaska by Bishop J Roméo Gagnon (O)

high school and college at College of Sainte-Anne–de-la-Pocatière (O)

1937:  Born Saint-François-of-Madawaska (O)

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L’Association des Levasseur

Born to Serve God

Father Almer Levasseur

It is with much sorrow that the parishioners of the diocese of Edmundston learned the sudden death of Father Almer Levasseur. He died, in  Québec  City  on March 27, 2005. He was the son of Gérard Levasseur and Imelda Bouchard. He was born in 1937 in Saint-François-of-Madawaska,  New Brunswick. He was the eldest of a family of 5 children: a brother and three sisters. After high school and collegial studies at the College of Sainte-Anne–de-la-Pocatière, he entered the seminary. He completed his theological studies and was ordained to the priesthood in 1962.

Man of faith and engagement, he was ordained in the  church  of  St  François de Madawaskaby Mgr J Roméo Gagnon. He was successively named vicar in the following parishes: Saint-Jacob,Saint-François, Saint-Basile, and Immaculée-Conception of Edmundston. He then became the parish priest of that parish as well as  Saint-Quentin  and  Saint Martin’s. At the 125e anniversary of the parish Immaculée-Conception of Edmundston, a supper for the benefit of volunteers was held on June 9, 2005. The committee, on behalf of all parishioners wished to express their recognition by presenting, posthumously, a laminated plaque to two members of his family, namely Jacques and Jacqueline. The plaque reads: ” To deceased Father Almer Levasseur for his 19 years of dedicated religious service to the parish and his implication with the Boy Scout and Girl Guide movements “  This ceremony was very moving for his brother and his sister as well as the people present.

Priest devoted religiously and socially in volunteer work, he had been a diocesan chaplain for the preparation to the marriage services, he was also a chaplain of Scouts and Guides both at the local level and the district of Edmundston. He was a member of the Association of Scouts and Guides of  Canada. At an international scout “Jamboree” held in  Sweden  in 1995, he received the highest national distinction for his activities. This honor was presented by the then General Governor, Mr. Edward R. Schreyer. It was a red badge sown on his shirt and named Anna Purna. He had also received in 1980 the Vanier Medal for his engagement and dedication as chaplain and organizer of the scout movement. This medal was presented to him by Governor General Mrs. Jeanne Sauvé. His first years in the scouting movement had marked him because his belief in the founder’s philosophy. All he wanted was to help others “That the world is better because you had been there”. Father Almer had endorsed this motto and wanted to share it with the young people.

He spent his last years with the Marists Fathers in  Quebec City. He was the chaplain of the Hospital complex and Health care facilities of the Côte de Beaupré. He found this work both pleasing and rewarding. In his younger age he had hesitated between choosing medicine or priesthood as a profession. He opted for healing the soul rather than the body.

Father Almer Levasseur left too quickly, but the bonds of friendship which unite us will remain engraved in our heart of who knew and loved him. His funeral took place at the Cathedral of the Immaculée-Conception on April 2 2005. In attendance were members of his family, priests and many parishioners of the Edmundston diocese. Two delegations from  Quebec  of the Fathers Marists and secular priests of the diocese ofQuebecalso attended the ceremony. Father Almer is buried in SaintFrançois-of-Madawaska, his native parish….

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BANNED FROM INTERNET

Toronto Star

20 October 1998

A Catholic priest was fined $1,000 and banned from surfing the Internet for three years after pleading guilty yesterday to possessing child pornography. Rev. Almer Levasseur, 61, former parish priest of Eglise Tres-Saint-Sacrement was arrested after police entered a dwelling and seized a video cassette and 300 pornographic photos of children taken off the Internet.

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Priest guilty of pornography

The New Brunswick Telegraph Journal (Saint John, New Brunswick)

21 October 1998

The priest, who downloaded some pornographic material from the Internet, was put on probation for three years and banned from surfing the Net during his probation.

Rev. Almer Lavasseur, 61, former parish priest of St. Quentin’s Eglise Tres-Saint-Sacrement, has been fined $1,000 after he pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography in the Court of Queen’s Bench in Campbellton.

The priest, who downloaded some pornographic material from the Internet, was put on probation for three years and banned from surfing the Net during his probation.

Justice Roger Savoie of Moncton also ordered the priest‘s personal computer confiscated.

Father Lavasseur changed his plea to guilty just before a four-day judge-and- jury trial was to begin.

During a three-month investigation, the St. Quentin RCMP and its customs and excise section exercised a warrant at the parish rectory and seized a video cassette and 300 pornographic photos of children taken off the Internet last December.

Father Lavasseur arrived in St. Quentin two years ago to replace Monsignor Fernand Boucher, the former parish priest who had been charged with theft and indecent assault.

Father Boucher was later judged unfit to stand trial.

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Bishop astonished at charge against priest

New Brunswick Telegraph Journal

24 January 1998
LOCAL PARISHIONER Florent Pelletier says he still probably go to mass tomorrow. But it won’t be the regular priest preaching the 11 a.m. mass from the pulpit of Eglise Tres-Saint-Sacrement in this northwestern New Brunswick village. Retired priest Monsignor Gerard Dionne of Edmundston is expected to lead mass after parish priest Rev. Almer Levasseur, 61, was charged with possession of child pornography Thursday. “That won’t stop me from going to church,” says Mr. Pelletier, an electrician at Groupe Savoie, the village’s main employer. “It’s unfortunate but the news of the priest being charged will probably keep some people away from church.” News of the local priest being charged with sex-related charges has triggered another set of shockwaves in this Restigouche County community sandwiched between Campbellton and St-Leonard as Rev. Levasseur arrived here two years ago to replace Monsignor Fernand Boucher, the former priest charged with theft and indecent assault. The retired judge was later judged unfit to stand trial and currently resides in St-Basile. “The feeling around here is we’ve been taken again,” says Mr. Pelletier. “When he arrived, people started to return to church. The majority of the people liked him. He was at all the functions always ready to help.” Both police and parish council committees are remaining tightlipped about the community’s second possible sex scandal in three years involving the parish priest. Police are releasing few details surrounding the circumstances of the one-count information laid in provincial court Thursday here. It alleges Rev. Levasseur had possession of children pornography on last Dec. 8. The charge, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, stems from a three-month investigation involving St-Quentin RCMP and the force’s Customs & Excise Section in St-Leonard. Police received information from U.S. Customs and U.S. Postal Service. Madeleine Belanger, president of the parish council, refused to comment on the issue Thursday night. Bishop Francois Thibodeau of the Diocese of Edmundston, who didn’t return phone calls, issued a brief press release announcing his astonishment to the charge. “I like to remind you everyone must be considered not guilty until a judgement declares him guilty,” said the Bishop, in his French-language press release. Rev. Levasseur is to make his first court appearance on Feb. 12 in St-Quentin. -30-

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Priest charged with possessing child pornography

The New Brunswick Telegraph Journal (Saint John, N.B)

23 January 1998

Bruce Macfarlane

For the second time in three years, this rural Northern New Brunswick village has been rocked in a sex scandal involving the local parish priest.

Police and church members are keeping silent over yesterday’s news that Rev. Almer Levasseur, the parish priest at Eglise Tres-Saint-Sacrement, was charged with possession of child pornography.

The 61-year-old priest arrived in this village two years ago to replace Monsignor Fernand Boucher, the former parish priest charged with theft and indecent assault. The retired priest was later judged unfit to stand trial and currently resides in St-Basile.

“We’re really disappointed and we’re really down to find out that this stuff is coming here in St-Quentin,” village Mayor Livain Richard said.

“We don’t want to judge him before he goes to court but this is the second problem involving young people,” Mr. Richard said.

RCMP spokesman Sergeant. Rick Daigle said the charge, which calls for a maximum penalty of five years in prison, stems from a three-month investigation involving St-Quentin RCMP and the force’s Custom and Excise Section in St- Leonard.

Police opened an investigation after receiving a tip from the U.S. Customs and U.S. Postal Service, as well additional information from the local detachment.

“It’s a serious case for that type of offence and it’s even more devastating when it’s a community leader,” who is charged, Sgt. Daigle said.

Madeleine Belanger, president of the nine-member parish council, refused to comment on the charges.

“I have nothing to say,” she remarked, prior to hanging up the telephone at the church office.

Bishop Francois Thibodeau of the Diocese of Edmundston didn’t return a reporter’s telephone calls yesterday.

The child pornography possession charge was laid in Provincial Court here yesterday before Provincial Court Judge Frederic Arseneault. A summons was issued ordering the priest to make his first court appearance on Feb. 12 in St- Quentin.

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