Fr. Francis LeFevre – Archdiocese of Baltimore

by | Jul 30, 2023 | Abuser Profiles, Catholic Church

Father Francis LeFevre

Archdiocese of Baltimore

Francis LeFevre Horowitz Law


Ordained: 1971

Removed: 1995

Assignment History:

  • 1971-1977: St. Anthony Padua (Baltimore, MD)
  • 1978: St. Ursula (Baltimore County, MD)
  • 1979: St. John the Evangelist (Hydes, MD)
  • 1980-1987: St. Ursula (Baltimore, MD)
  • 1981: Vocation Office
  • 1987: Institute of Living (Hartford, CT)
  • 1987: Archdiocese of Hartford, CT (three-month assignment as part of a program of re-entry into priestly ministry with supervised priestly duties)
  • 1987: Our Lady Queen of Peace (Baltimore, MD)
  • 1987-1990: The Catholic Center (Baltimore, MD)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Father Fr. Francis LeFevre:

Fr. Francis LeFevre was ordained a Catholic priest and worked at various parishes in the Archdiocese of Baltimore and in Connecticut. In 2002, Fr. LeFevre was listed on the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse of Minors list. In April 2023, Maryland’s Attorney General released a report alleging 156 Catholic clergy members sexually abused at least 600 children over six decades. The report lists the names of the abusers, including Father Francis LeFevre.

According to the Attorney General’s report, in 1987, allegations were reported to the archdiocese claiming that Fr. LeFevre sexually abused multiple children. When confronted, LeFevre admitted to the abuse and provided details, including the names of his victims and locations. Notes revealed that he recalled six incidents but could have been others. A few days later, he remembered more. LeFevre was sent for treatment to the Institute of Living in Connecticut in July 1987 for “sexual disorders” and “sexual difficulties.” As part of LeFevre’s outpatient therapy, the Archbishop of Hartford gave him faculties and assigned him to a local parish where he resided. LeFevre was told that if all went well in CT, he could return to Baltimore. LeFevre eventually returned to Baltimore, where he was given a full-time assignment and had his faculties restored. 

In 1989, when William Keeler became Archbishop, he regarded LeFevre as unsuitable in Baltimore or elsewhere, and LeFevre’s faculties were “severely limited,” with no parish or public ministry permitted. 

In 1995, a lawsuit was filed by a victim, describing sexual abuse by LeFevre in 1975 and 1976, when the victim was 11 years old, that included fondling and masturbation. LeFevre also entered his bed while the victim was sleeping and showering. LeFevre admitted fondling the man in Virginia while in the same bed when the victim was 16.

In 1995, another report was made by the mother of a deceased victim. The victim told his mother that he was abused by Fr. LeFevre in 1975 and 1976 when he was approximately ten. The victim was an altar boy at St. Anthony Church in Baltimore, and LeFevre took him and other boys to his vacation home in New Jersey. LeFevre also spent time with their family. LeFevre’s faculties were removed at this time.

In 1996, LeFevre violated his restricted ministry by participating in services in Evansville, Ohio. In 1998, LeFevre wrote a letter of thanks for allowing him to celebrate mass in Philadelphia at his uncle’s funeral. 

In 2000, Cardinal Keeler prohibited LeFevre from engaging in ministry and communicated his concerns about LeFevre with the Vatican. LeFevre fought the decision and told Keeler that he found a “benevolent bishop” in Saginaw, Michigan, willing to take him. LeFevre convinced Saginaw Bishop Kenneth Untener to accept him after a five-day treatment at St. Luke Institute, psychological screening with a consultant in Saginaw, and discussions with Untener, who was fully aware of LeFevre’s past transgressions. Keeler denied the request.

In 2008, another victim reported that he was sexually abused by LeFevre in 1974 and 1975 when he was 11. The abuse consisted of fondling over clothes at St. Anthony of Padua. The victim settled with the Archdiocese in 2011.

In 2009, yet another victim and former altar boy reported sexual abuse by LeFevre when he was 11 or 12. The victim answered phones at St. Ursula and was abused in the rectory and LeFevre’s bedroom. The abuse included oral rape, fondling, and showing the victim a pornographic video. The victim was also fondled on car trips to Avalon, New Jersey, with other altar boys also in the car.

In 2009, another victim reported abuse occurring in 1981 and 1982, when the victim was 11 or 12. The victim was fondled over his clothes on trips to Avalon, New Jersey, and in the rectory at St. Ursula. LeFevre also fondled the victim in the rectory and orally raped the victim. In 2012, another victim reported abuse in 1971, aged 11 through 13. The victim related he was molested in the rectory at St. Anthony’s and at the Jersey shore while showering.

In 2012, the Office of Child and Youth Protection sent LeFevre a letter reviewing the restrictions on his faculties since the “dismissal from active ministry related to his acknowledged sexual misconduct with minors.” LeFevre had admitted the “sexual misconduct” in 1987, yet his faculties were fully restored after treatment, and he was not dismissed from active ministry until 1989.

In 2013, a victim reported sexual abuse by Fr. LeFevre in 1969 when he was 11 through 13. The abuse occurred at St. Anthony’s, and a $50,000 settlement was reached in 2014. The victim had been an altar boy. The abuse included oral rape in New Jersey and at the rectory and anal rape behind the altar in the basement. 

In 2018, the mother of a deceased victim reported her son told her he was abused in 1974 when he was 13 years old on a retreat in Anne Arundel County. The victim did not detail the abuse but stated he was fondled while asleep. The victim also saw another boy crying, who told the victim at the time LeFevre also abused him. The Archdiocese made mandated reports to authorities in 1995, 2008, 2009, 2012, and 2018.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Archdiocese of Baltimore in Maryland. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Maryland, contact our office today. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse nationwide. We can help. Contact us at 888-283-9922 or [email protected] to discuss your options today.