Father Kenneth LeBlanc was being placed on leave pending an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct while serving at Most Blessed Sacrament in Wakefield 30 years ago.
“There was total silence in the church,” one parish council member said after the announcement at St. Peter’s Church.
The announcement: Father Kenneth LeBlanc was being placed on leave pending an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct while serving at Most Blessed Sacrament Church in Wakefield 30 years ago.
“It’s a sad situation,’’ said Elizabeth Adey, a parish council member at St. Peter’s. “He was well-liked. He is such a gentle man.”
Boston Bishop John Dooher, with a team of other church officials, was at each Mass on Sunday announcing the Rev. LeBlanc’s leave of absence.
Bishop Dooher first gave families with children a chance to leave the building to spare children the hearing the details, archdiocesan spokesman Kelly Lynch said.
Lynch said a host of local retired priests have offered to step in for the Rev. LeBlanc while the investigation goes forward.
Boston church officials began meeting with St. Peter’s staff last Wednesday to prepare for the weekend announcements.
It was parish staff that suggested letting families with children leave before the announcements were made.
Bishop Dooher waited until the end of each Mass before speaking to parishioners, Lynch said.
A ‘listening service’ will be held Thursday evening to answer parishioners questions and concerns, Lynch said.
The alleged victim says the Rev. LeBlanc sexually assaulted her and several other young girls in his car, in his home and in secluded areas in Wakefield 30 years ago.
She posted her allegations on a Web site: www.pedophilepriest.org. A letter from her to the Rev. LeBlanc is posted on the site along with his alleged response and those of others familiar with his ministry. The Patriot Ledger does not identify sexual assault victims.
The Rev. LeBlanc did not return a call seeking confirmation of the authenticity of the e-mail response posted on the Web site.
Adey, the parish council member, has been attending St. Peter’s for nearly 40 years, most of them under the leadership of the Rev. Paul Bailey.
The Rev. LeBlanc was appointed in 2005 to replace an interim priest who had replaced the Rev. Bailey, Adey said.
The church’s second priest, the Rev. Robert Milling, is out having knee surgery, she said.
Tamara Race may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where LeBlanc has served
1976-1982 Most Blessed Sacrament, Wakefield
1982-1992 St. Michael, Hudson
1992-1998 Our Lady Comforter Afflicted, Waltham
1998-1999 St. Joseph, Needham
1999 St. Joseph, Medway
2001-2002 St. Monica, Methuen
2002-2005 Mary Immaculate Conception, Newton
2005-2009 St. Peter, Plymouth