LeBar: Early 1960’s

Father LeBar was a strange man.

He never seemed comfortable, uptight.

Never laughed, I can’t remember him ever even smiling.

Maybe he did I just don’t recall. Nobody liked him much.

So, what does the monsignor do with this guy?

He put him in charge of the altar boys.

I know, right?

Do you know that list that came out years later?

He was on it.

He took all the altar boys swimming at an indoor pool.

To a facility run by the church, twenty or twenty-five of us.

For some reason he had us all swim naked.

He was the only adult there.

Can one person be a chaperone?

Well, that’s about all I can remember about that.

Oh, one other thing he bought us all McDonalds on the way home.

This is a link to the NY Archdiocese Sexual Abuse list.

12 Comments

  1. Hey Gene, I saw Fr Lebar’s name on that list a couple of years ago. It really surprised me because I never heard of any claim by anyone at St John’s of sexual abuse against him. I asked some of my old classmates and they also said they never heard a bad word against him. I recall him as friendly and a big Boy Scout booster. He took the altar boys to Playland at the end of the school year. I have a picture somewhere of him surrounded by altar boys on the beach at Playland, He was wearing a bathing suit. Scandalous for a priest in 1964. He wasn’t a hands on guy, so the abuse claim I find hard to believe. Since he died before the claim against him was raised, he never had the chance to respond to it. I remember him fondly.

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    1. Neil, Thanks for the reply, The event I spoke about happened there is no doubt. I am sure a classmate or more of yours was there if you really tried to find someone. I have gotten replies from other St Johns alum who have talked of physical abuse that was not of a sexual nature. This is not something I dreamed up. There was a clip from a lawyer (YouTube) that I had originally attached to my blog but decided it was unfair to include. I appreciate that your experience with Fr. LeBar was more possitive than was mine. I understand your questioning my judgement on this, I do not understand you not questioning a priest who put 25 children in that situation. I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts. Congratulations on the new lawyer in the family.

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      1. I ran a youtube search on James lebar and came across some clips of him on Morton Downey Jr and an exorcism description, but nothing detailing sexual abuse claims against him. One clip repeated the archdiocesan list with his name on it as someone against whom a credible claim of either sexual abuse or possession of child pornography had been made after his death. Can you send me the link to something with more detail?
        I’m not going to say that his “watching over” ( chaperoning? Supervising? ) the boys swimming naked is not at least somewhat perverted. But I feel it’s a stretch to make that into sexual abuse. If he put his hands on someone, I still haven’t heard it.
        I’m sorry you’re interactions with Lebar were so awful. He left St John’s in 1965 when I finished the seventh grade. He did not leave under any black cloud I was aware of.

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  2. The clip I deleted was a 53 second appeal from a law firm that I felt was unfair to him, as I already stated. I ONLY included in my account the facts I had first hand knowledge of as well as the assesments of the NY Archdiocese, his governing body. If you do dont believe that presiding over 25 children of grammar school age while they swim naked,, rises to the level of abuse you are far more generous than I.

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    1. Gene, sorry for the slow reply, been traveling and these days it takes a lot out of me.
      To answer your question, no I hadn’t heard about the skinny dipping day anywhere else. I believe you 100% that it took place.
      Neil

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