A Catholic priest who had been on administrative leave from a parish in Plymouth since February 2009 and had been under investigation for allegedly sexually assaulting girls nearly three decades ago, has died.
A woman, creating a personal website last year, alleged that Kenneth A. LeBlanc assaulted her and other girls at the Most Blessed Sacrament Church in Wakefield 30 years ago. The Archdiocese of Boston placed LeBlanc on administrative leave from St. Peter’s Church in Plymouth, where he had been the pastor.
LeBlanc, according to his family, suffered from various forms of cancer for the past decade, including renal cancer. He died Wednesday at 61 years old.
LeBlanc was assigned to parishes in six Massachusetts communities over the past 34 years.
The alleged victim’s website remained up tonight, but the post detailing the abuse was removed along with a post dated March 3, 2009, explaining that the woman ‘‘never imagined the extent of the hurtful nature’’ of some of comments readers would post on her website.
The Globe is withholding the address of the website because it includes the victim’s name. The Globe does not name victims of sexual abuse. An e-mail message sent to the alleged victim at the website was not answered.
Anne Barrett Doyle, of the non-profit website bishop-accountability.org , which tracks priest abuse allegations, said it was the first time in the Boston area, and possibly nationally, that someone used a personal website to report sexual abuse by a priest.
‘‘The Archdiocese prays for the repose of Rev. Kenneth LeBlanc’s soul,’’ said spokesman Terrence C. Donilon, in an e-mail. ‘‘In February 2009, the Archdiocese of Boston announced that it had placed Father LeBlanc on administrative leave as a result of receiving an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor. ... Father LeBlanc remained on administrative leave and the case was under investigation at the time of his death.’’
The Rev. J. Garret Thomson, of St. Martha’s Church in Plainville, died suddenly earlier this month, two days after he was placed on administrative leave after sexual abuse allegations surfaced. A medical examiner ruled that Thomson, 55, died Jan. 6 of natural causes and that high blood pressure and diabetes contributed to his death.
LeBlanc was never criminally charged. A spokeswoman for the Middlesex County district attorney’s office, which has jurisdiction over Wakefield, said the statute of limitations on the sexual assault claims had expired.
One of LeBlanc’s sisters, who asked not to be named, said in a phone interview with the Globe:
‘‘There are so many things that I could say wonderfully about him, and not because he’s my brother but because he was truly a devout priest. He was a wonderful brother, a wonderful uncle, a wonderful son to my parents before they passed away. He was just truly a great person and loved his church.’’
John M. Guilfoil can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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