News / Halifax

Former Yarmouth priest pleads guilty to sexually assaulting boys

Emotions were high inside a Nova Scotia courtroom Monday as a former Yarmouth priest entered guilty pleas to six counts of indecent assault, some dating back to the late 1960s and early 1970s.

The family and friends of the six victims –  all grown men who were just young boys when the crimes were committed – applauded inside the Yarmouth courtroom as they heard the guilty pleas against Albert LeBlanc, displaying relief that a trial would not go ahead and that the accused will be punished for his actions.

“He is aware of the potential penalties, potential sentences. He is also aware that pleading guilty is an admission of every element of the infractions alleged by the Crown,” said LeBlanc's defence lawyer J. Gilles Lemieux outside of court.

LeBlanc, an 83-year-old from Bouctouche, N.B, left the priesthood in Yarmouth in 1973. Afterwards he worked as a caseworker with Family and Children Services and then as a probation officer.

The six charges LeBlanc pleaded guilty to would fall under the umbrella of sexual assault today, but at the time the offences were committed, sexual assault did not yet exist in the Criminal Code. Back then it was called indecent assault.

The six guilty pleas entered – one for each victim – were to offences committed between 1964 and 1970, between 1972 and 1975 and between 1980 and 1982.

In April 2010 the RCMP launched an investigation and LeBlanc was arrested at his home in January 2011.

Initially he was charged with 40 counts of indecent assault and gross indecency. The number of charges before the court later climbed to 50.

For now, the remaining charges before the court have been adjourned until LeBlanc’s sentencing on Aug. 17.

Lemieux said oMonday he hopes the remaining charges against his client will be stayed by the Crown.

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