Priest’s court appearance postponed
By Deborah Gyapong
Canadian Catholic News
OTTAWA (CCN) — Rev. Joe LeClair, a popular Ottawa priest who has been charged with theft, fraud and breach of trust, had his first court appearance postponed until Oct. 17 after one of his lawyers asked for more time to examine the evidence.
Over a review period from January 2006 to May 2011, the police found
$240,000 in parish cheques were misappropriated and $160,000 in cash
that was not accounted for.
LeClair, who served in the Ottawa diocese for 25 years, was largely credited
with the revival of Blessed Sacrament Parish in the Glebe neighbourhood.
In the spring of 2011, LeClair admitted to a gambling addiction after
the Ottawa Citizen ran a series of articles revealing huge credit card
debts and cash advances. The priest denied ever misusing parish funds
to feed his gambling habit.
The Archdiocese of Ottawa asked for a forensic audit around the same
time the newspaper began its reports. After the audit was completed,
the archdiocese filed the complaint.