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Catholic parishioners asked to support LeBrun defense

Testimony got underway Thursday afternoon in the child molestation case of Father Paul LeBrun in Mesa, Arizona

Testimony got underway Thursday afternoon in the child molestation case of Father Paul LeBrun in Mesa, Arizona.


Story filed by NewsCenter16 Reporter
Judi Lykowski

Indiana victims testified Thursday in the child molestation case of Father Paul LeBrun.

Back in the 1990's, LeBrun was a priest at Little Flower Catholic Church in South Bend.

LeBrun is also accused of molesting children from his church in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

Parishioners of the Little Flower Catholic Church and others in the dioceses are being solicited to raise money for Paul LeBrun's defense. 

The solicitation is coming in the form of a letter. So far, it's arriving in mailboxes of local Catholics. Now, it's leaving both parishioners and the diocese asking a lot of questions.

Junk mail
St. Pius parishioner's Cindi and Tom Fuja of Granger received the letter Tuesday.

"It struck me as just another piece of junk mail," says St. Pius Parishioner Tom Fuja.

"I just threw it away after I read it," said Cindi Fuja, also a member of the Catholic parish.

Apparently, they are not the only members of the Ft. Wayne South Bend Diocese that received the letter in the mail.

The letter is from Joseph Mayor, the president of a Detroit organization called Opus Bono Sacerdotii. It is a group trying to raise more than $100,000 in defense money for Father LeBrun.

The catholic priest is on trial in Arizona, accused of molestation. LeBrun also used to work in the local diocese.

"This is not a random mailing," says Cindi Fuja. "I don't know how they got our name."

And, either does the other St. Pius parishioners, the pastor, Bill Schooler or Bishop John Michael D'Arcy.

"We would never provide a list of parishioners to this group or to anyone," explains Bishop D'Arcy. "We have no relationship with that group, they are way out of line. It's outrageous what they are doing."

The letter clearly asks to please consider making a substantial contribution.

"It seemed like a scam than some thing legitimate," says Cindi Fuja.

"I didn't think it was from the diocese," says Tom Fuja.

Bishop D'Arcy wants to make sure others don't as well.

"We are not in support of that statement at all and we are not in support of any financial assistance of Father LeBrun, absolutely none," says Bishop D'Arcy.

Remains a mystery
NewsCenter 16 attempted to contact the non-profit organization that sent the letters. So far, we have not heard a response.

Bishop D'Arcy says local parishes will likely discuss this topic briefly during this weekend's church services.

Right now, it's a mystery how the Detroit firm acquired parishioners names and addresses. 


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