January 28, 2005

Priest gets maximum sentence in abuse of ex-parishioner

The Arizona Republic

Jim Walsh
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 28, 2005 05:30 PM

Supporters of a priest gasped Friday as a Maricopa County Superior Court judge sentenced Father Karl LeClaire to a year in jail for sexually abusing a former parishioner.

Judge Sherry Stephens imposed the maximum sentence possible under LeClaire's plea agreement over the objections of supporters who jammed a small Mesa courtroom and pleaded for leniency. LeClaire must serve the entire sentence without opportunity for early release.

Anthony Chacon, 24, said he was disappointed in the sentence, which also requires LeClaire, 48, to register as a sex offender. The former pastor of Queen of Peace Catholic Church also was placed on three years probation. advertisement

"He's a great friend. There's no doubt in my mind this didn't occur," Chacon said.

But Joe Baca of Chandler, a member of SNAP, the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests, said LeClaire's supporters are in denial.

Posted by kshaw at January 28, 2005 07:06 PM