Ottawa police probe church finances
Ottawa police are now investigating the finances of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church after reported improper use of parish accounts.
Former pastor, Rev. Joseph LeClair, is right in the middle of the investigation for allegations he used church money to fuel his gambling problem.
LeClair, 53, abruptly quit the church in May after issues with late night gambling went public. This after he made a public apology to his congregation, admitting he had trouble with both gambling and depression.
Parishioners at the downtown Ottawa church were notified of the police investigation Sunday, as Monsignor Kevin Beach from Ottawa's Catholic Archdiocese read a letter to the crowd.
The letter explained how outside auditors hired by the archdiocese found unexplained expenses and relaxed accounting at the church.
The parishioners were clearly frustrated after mass when asked to comment on the new investigation.
"That's really, like, church business and we're really, like, a family at this church right now," said one woman who would not give her name.
Rev. Cameron Montgomery from neighbouring church Ecclesiax, a Free Methodist church, said he understands the parishioners' frustration.
"In a spiritual community, you rely on each other - a lot, so that hits deep in a lot of people's lives," said Montgomery.
"I feel for them, because I know they're going through a lot of turmoil, and it's difficult to work through that and go on."
Monsignor Beach will hold a town hall meeting Sept. 25 after the 11 a.m. mass where he will update parishioners on the investigation.