BRIDGEWATER, N.S. – A 48-year-old man pleaded guilty Thursday to kidnapping, confining and sexually assaulting a 16-year-old boy at a cabin in rural Nova Scotia last fall.
David James LeBlanc appeared in Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Bridgewater, where he entered guilty pleas to charges of kidnapping, forcible confinement, sexual assault, uttering threats and breach of conditions.
Two other charges — sexual assault causing bodily harm and administering a noxious substance with intent to cause bodily harm — were withdrawn.
The victim’s mother said seeing LeBlanc in court for the first time Thursday was “very difficult.”
“As a mother, I just wanted him to suffer,” she said outside court, her hands shaking.
“Normally I’m not like that, but it was just overwhelming.”
She said her son, who cannot be identified, is trying to put the incident behind him, adding she was glad he doesn’t have to “relive” the abuse through a trial.
LeBlanc was charged after a woman reported in September that a barefoot teenager arrived at her doorstep in Upper Chelsea, about 130 kilometres southwest of Halifax, chained at his wrists and ankles.
At the time, the RCMP said they believe the boy was held captive for 10 to 14 days before he was able to escape.
LeBlanc also pleaded guilty Thursday to making and distributing child pornography as well as sexual interference in a separate case involving two boys, aged five and two.
Crown prosecutor Lloyd Tancock said he will seek between eight to 12 years in prison and will likely craft a joint sentencing recommendation with the defence.
Tancock said that the guilty pleas mean that what would have likely been a lengthy trial with up to 20 witnesses for one case alone will now not go ahead. He said it also shielded the young victims from having to testify or endure a difficult trial.
“Our case was extremely strong and I would hope that (LeBlanc) saw that it was the proper thing to do,” Tancock said outside court.
A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for June 14.
LeBlanc was arrested Sept. 30 in northern Ontario after a Canada-wide manhunt. At the time, police were also searching for 31-year-old Wayne Alan Cunningham, whose body was later found near the area where LeBlanc was arrested. Foul play was not suspected in his death.
A third man, John Leonard MacKean, was charged in November with sexual assault and communicating for the purpose of obtaining sexual services from a person under 18 in relation to the confinement case.
He has elected trial by judge and jury in Nova Scotia Supreme Court. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 25 in Bridgewater.