Priest pleads guilty to stealing $130Gs from church

Father Joseph Leclair of Blessed Sacrament Church in the Glebe. (QMI Agency file photo)

Father Joseph Leclair of Blessed Sacrament Church in the Glebe. (QMI Agency file photo)

Tony Spears, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:41 AM ET

OTTAWA — A priest with a pathological gambling problem pleaded guilty Monday to fraud and theft charges after taking his church for $130,000.

Joseph Leclair, former priest of Blessed Sacrament Church, exploited lax bookkeeping to pilfer church funds and pay his gambling debts, according to an agreed statement of facts read in court.

The deception lasted from 2006 to May 2011. Marriage preparation course money — payable in cash at $100 a course — vanished into his accounts. He routinely rounded up expenses and pocketed the difference.

He would also deposit into his account wads of $5 and $10 bills that he stole from the collection plate.


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