Pew News: Say It Ain’t So, Father Joe!

Just when redemption was around the corner, along comes another kick in the slats to test the faith of Fr. Joe Leclair.

The former priest at Ottawa’s Blessed Sacrament Church was last week sentenced to a year in jail, one year in probation and a restitution of $134,000, after he admitted he had a gambling addiction and lied and stole money from his parishioners, helped himself to thousands of dollars from the collection plate and redirected fees to his own accounts.

But if the claims of Kenneth McGrath are to be believed, Leclair may soon be facing a whole ‘nother vale of tears.

McGrath has taken to Facebook and newspapers’ online comment sections with allegations that some 25 years ago he was subjected to sexual overtures by Fr. Joe.

According to McGrath, who once launched a petition to get a state funeral for Stompin’ Tom Connors, he complained about Fr. Joe’s behaviour to church officials and to Ottawa flatfeet, but nothing came of it.

He says LeClair:

– “Made repeated sexual comments about his young parishioners and pastoral care group members.”

– “Tried to lure me into his bedroom secretly, and un-chaperoned when I was at my most vulnerable in the early stages of battling my own addiction for which I am now twenty-five plus (25+) years clean now.”

– “Tried to have me touch him inappropriately.”

– “Attempted to harm me by touching me inappropriately.”

McGrath’s allegations have reached the highest levels of the long-suffering Ottawa diocese. Msgr. Kevin Beech, Vicar General, has invited McGrath to contact him if he wishes to initiate (sigh) yet another investigation.

If substantiated, the accusations would be a hard swallow for the core of Fr. Joe’s forgiving and devoted flock, who have thus far stood by their beloved shearer, throughout his legal tribulations.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someone
5 comments on “Pew News: Say It Ain’t So, Father Joe!
  1. OJM says:

    I’m seeing a new CBC sitcom here. Father Joe exiled to a remote island off the coast of Cape Breton, along with a younger imbecile-priest (Shaun Majumder) and a clapped-out alchoholic lecher-priest (Gordon Pinsent). With (inevitably) Mary Walsh as their mildly demented housekeeper.

  2. bubbagreat says:

    A new act in the “Joe Show”! Sadly, the same script as many other Catholic theatrics.

  3. Steve-O says:

    Can you imagine that many of Fr. Joe’s parishioners wanted to see him get no jail time for stealing from his church? If a bank teller or loan officer tried to embezzle monies from his bank, wouldn’t most people expect him or her to get some jail time? Then why are Fr. Joe’s offences considered less serious by his more soft-hearted (and soft-headed) parishioners?

    • mmedesevigne says:

      I know this sounds insane, but these folks take the injunction to forgive seriously. The downside, of course, is that it has to apply to everybody, not just popular pastors. But the ultimate question is: at what point does forgiveness become enabling? And, by not being corrected, the sinner just gets worse and worse, just a like someone with a physical ailment that goes untreated. Plato had lots to say about this.

  4. busty says:

    I’m not Ken McGrath, nor do I know him. That out of the way, his story does have the ring of truth. Anyone who has gone through this kind of experience personally knows how the game works. His description of the sequence of events rings true, at least to me.

Leave a Reply