Father Joe steps down from Glebe parish
An embattled Ottawa priest is stepping down from his post at a Catholic Church after admitting he has a gambling problem.
Father Joe LeClair told parishioners on Easter Sunday that he will be leaving his post at Blessed Sacrament Church in Ottawa's Glebe neighbourhood.
His departure comes after he admitted to having a gambling problem following an investigation by the Ottawa Citizen.
The newspaper revealed LeClair racked up personal credit card bills of nearly half a million dollars in 2009 and 2010.
In those same years, he took cash advances of more than $137,000 on his credit card at Casino du Lac Leamy, according to the newspaper.
The report also raised questions about $250,000 in cheques that were made out to LeClair from Church accounts.
LeClair insists he did not use Church money to fund his gambling problem or to cover his debts. An audit is now underway on the Church's books.
LeClair is well-loved in Ottawa's Catholic community, and is credited with building Blessed Sacrament parish into one of the strongest Catholic churches in the city.