November 17, 2005

Priest convicted on sex abuse, faces 100-plus years in prison

The Arizona Republic

Jim Walsh
The Arizona Republic
Nov. 17, 2005 01:15 PM

A jury Thursday found a Catholic priest guilty on six counts in the sexual abuse of boys when he was stationed in the West Valley after a trial that included powerful testimony from four Indiana men who said that they, too, were victimized by him.

The Rev. Paul LeBrun, 49, was found guilty after three weeks of testimony in a Mesa courtroom. LeBrun, awaiting trial in the Maricopa County Jail since 2003, was the first priest to be judged on sexual charges by a Valley jury since the Catholic sex scandal broke nearly four years ago. Other cases ended in plea bargains or, in two cases, the accused fled to other countries and have not been extradited.

LeBrun, who could face more than 100 years in prison, has been stripped of his priestly duties, but has not been defrocked. He stood trial on eight counts of sexual conduct with a minor and five counts of child molestation. Jurors deadlocked on five counts and acquitted LeBrun on a sixth; one other count was dropped.

Posted by kshaw at November 17, 2005 07:53 PM