GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Barry County man, now 31, said he thought he could send his alleged attacker, Father David LeBlanc, to jail or perhaps file a civil suit against the priest and the church. The priest molested him, he said, 20 years ago.
But under Michigan law, he has no legal recourse.
Here’s a chronology of the case:
1971: Father David LeBlanc sexually abuses a different boy, age 12, while a priest at St. Jean Baptiste in Muskegon. The abuse is not reported.
1984: LeBlanc assigned to Holy Spirit Parish in Grand Rapids.
1993: The victim from 1971 abuse comes forward 22 years later to the Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids. LeBlanc acknowledges abuse. Bishop Robert Rose takes no known action.
1996: LeBlanc moved from Holy Spirit in Grand Rapids to Holy Family in Caledonia.
1999: Boy, 12, allegedly molested by LeBlanc while at rectory of Holy Family in Caledonia. He doesn’t report it.
2007: Bishop Walter Hurley announces removal of LeBlanc, still the priest at Holy Family in Caledonia, after finding information on the 1971 case while going through church files. The boy who said he was molested in 1999 said he didn’t come forward then because members of Holy Family, including his family, supported the priest.
Feb. 14, 2019: New survivor calls Target 8 after watching “After the Fall” series detailing abuse by priests, including LeBlanc.
Feb. 15, 2009: New victim said he calls AG’s office to report 1999 abuse and is later told the case is too old for criminal charges or a civil lawsuit
Anyone who has been victimized by a member of the Catholic church can confidentially report it to the Michigan Attorney General’s Office online or by calling 844.324.3374 during regular business hours. The state also has a hotline for all victims of sexual assault that offers support and resources: 1.855.VOICES4 (864.2374).