November 18, 2005

Priest convicted of Valley sex abuse

The Arizona Republic

Jim Walsh and Aaron Royster
The Arizona Republic
Nov. 18, 2005 12:00 AM

The only Valley Catholic priest to risk trial on child-abuse charges paid dearly on Thursday when jurors found him guilty of six sex crimes that carry an 81-year minimum sentence.

The Rev. Paul LeBrun, 49, a former youth minister, shook his head as jurors announced they had found him guilty of sexual abuse of six 11- to 13-year-old boys in the West Valley from 1986 to 1991.

"These young men were very courageous in coming forward and testifying before 16 strangers," including four alternate jurors, Deputy County Attorney Suzanne Cohen said. advertisement

LeBrun has been barred from handling priestly duties since 1999 and was charged in 2003, but has not been defrocked.

Since the priest scandal erupted in the Valley in 2002 and 2003, three priests have been pleaded guilty to charges, one died and three are sought by authorities in foreign countries. LeBrun is the first case to go to a jury.

Posted by kshaw at November 18, 2005 08:16 AM