Officials from Ottawa's Blessed Sacrament Church said Saturday police will be investigating financial irregularities at the church.

An audit was done of the church's finances from 2006 to 2010 after the church's former priest Father Joe Leclair admitted earlier this year he had a gambling problem.

This came after the Ottawa Citizen reported he had allegedly written $250,000 in cheques to himself from the church account and advanced $137,000 of church money to his credit card.

"Our review has found there are questionable transactions that require further investigation," said the vicar general in a statement. "As a result, we have referred the matter to the Ottawa Police Service for investigation."

Leclair left the parish at the end of May, then entered into a treatment program in Aurora, Ont. He is scheduled to complete the program in two weeks, according to his lawyer Ian Stauffer.

Stauffer said in a statement neither he nor Leclair have seen the audit, so they can't comment on its specific findings.

He did say Leclair believed the audit would clear his name.

"Father Joe believes that the police investigation will exonerate him from any wrongdoing," he said.

The audit said Leclair had sole signing authority for the church's account, which ran a deficit for four of the five years the audit covered.

However, Stauffer said he wanted to see more questions asked of the Parish Council's finance subcommittee, which he said oversees all the Parish's finances.

"The Archdiocese ultimately has responsibility for reviewing and auditing the financial statements submitted by the Parish Council," he added. "Unfortunately, the entire focus has been placed on Father Joe, without any questions being asked as to the role of these bodies during the last five years."

Many parishioners said they still hold Leclair in high regard after he helped build Blessed Sacrament into one of the strongest Catholic churches in Ottawa.

"He is one of the most dynamic priests I've ever had the honour of serving with," said Conrad Rock.

The Vicar General will be at the church Sunday, Sept. 25 to answer questions from parishioners.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Stefanie Masotti