News Local

Pedophile preyed on kids for four decades

Tracy McLaughlin

By Tracy McLaughlin, Special to QMI AGENCY

Retired York District School Board retired maintenance worker Harold Leblanc pleaded guilty to five counts of sexual assault involving little girls in Bradford court on Friday. SUPPLIED

Retired York District School Board retired maintenance worker Harold Leblanc pleaded guilty to five counts of sexual assault involving little girls in Bradford court on Friday. SUPPLIED

BRADFORD - 

For 40 years, child molester Harold Leblanc, 74, has been sneaking in basements and bedrooms, lurking around backyard swing sets and pretending to be a friend to neighbourhood parents so he could grope their little girls, court heard on Friday.

It took one brave six-year-old girl who lived in his Innisfil neighbourhood to come forward last summer and break the silence.

Standing in the prisoner’s box, wearing handcuffs, head bowed low, his back to the parents of his victims sitting in court, he softly pleaded “guilty” to five counts of sexual assault for repeated assaults on six children aged five to 12 from 1974 to 2016.

“Can I touch it?” he would constantly ask one little girl whenever he caught her playing alone.

Her parents trusted him and allowed him to babysit.

She described how he would shove his bare hands into her panties and it would “hurt” when he would rub hard, the court heard in an agreed statement of facts.

“He touched my pee part,” said another five-year-old girl.

She told how Leblanc came into her back yard and insisted on helping her climb the monkey bars and would shove his hands down her pants.

“I didn’t want to tell because I was afraid my dad would get mad at me,” she said in court.

Leblanc, who court heard is a retired maintenance worker with the York Region District School Board, played games of “tickle” with another child he babysat, prying her legs apart to touch her and saying there would be “big trouble” if she told.

Another child, 12, “froze” when Leblanc took her for a drive and pulled over on the side of the road to grope her, court heard.

“You want to be ready when you are out with the boys,” he told her.

After the first little one told her parents and they went to police, five others came forward, including one woman now in her 20s and another who was abused by Leblanc in 1973.

Victims said they thought they were the only ones.

Weeping in court, mothers told how their small children still live in fear, afraid to go outside and play or even go out on Halloween for fear of having to trick-or-treat at Leblanc’s house.

“He is a disgusting human being, a snake in the grass,” said one mother, who told the judge her young daughter still wakes at night, “terrified he will come out of jail and get her while she sleeps.”

“He is a pedophile,” Crown attorney Indy Kandola, who is asking for a six-year prison sentence, said in submissions.

Justice Glen Krelove will sentence at a later date.