EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 11, 2013

Editorial:


The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Allegations raised against Methuen City Council candidate Robert LeBlanc are disturbing. They describe behavior that is inappropriate for a holder of public office.

LeBlanc ought to withdraw from the councilor-at-large race.

LeBlanc, 68, is a well-known lawyer in Methuen. He is a former two-term councilor and was town manager from 1976 to 1981. He is currently the attorney for the state Democratic Party.

This background ordinarily would make someone well suited for a City Council seat. But there are other aspects to LeBlanc’s background that should disqualify him for public office.

The Eagle-Tribune reported last week that LeBlanc had been sent a letter in 2005 barring him from the campus of the Greater Lawrence Technical School in Andover. The school serves students from Andover, Lawrence, Methuen and North Andover.

“Should you enter or attempt to enter the premises, you may be considered to be committing a criminal trespass,” wrote lawyer Wayne F. Simmons Jr. “You are hereby further informed that this office is prepared to take all lawful action in order to protect the school and its students.”

Nothing in the letter indicated the reason for the ban.

The letter states that it was served via constable to 188 Broadway, Methuen, which at the time was the location of LeBlanc’s law office.

LeBlanc told reporter Brian Messenger he never received the letter and that he had been to the school campus many times since.

“An accusation was made — proven to be not true,” said LeBlanc. “I can’t remember that far back. I can’t remember what it was about.”

WBZ-TV reported this week that LeBlanc “stalked ... and propositioned” former Greater Lawrence Tech student Kevin Marr in 2005, prompting the then-senior to file a police report and the school to issue LeBlanc a no-trespass letter.

Marr told the television reporter that in 2005, LeBlanc asked him if he wanted a massage while Marr was working at the Rockingham Mall in Salem, N.H. Marr said LeBlanc then handed him a piece of paper with his name and phone number on it.

“He gave that to me and told me to call him if I changed my mind,” said Marr.

WBZ reported that Greater Lawrence Tech sent LeBlanc the no-trespass letter “after Marr told school officials he’d seen LeBlanc at his school, apparently there for a meeting.”

LeBlanc was also sent a letter in 2002 banning him from all Barnes & Noble bookstores, particularly the store in Salem, N.H. LeBlanc told The Eagle-Tribune he did receive that letter, but the ban had been lifted some time ago.

“The only thing I can recall there is I was up reading a book and fell asleep and I was snoring and had none-too-pleasant a conversation with their manager,” said LeBlanc. “That’s all I can remember.”

But according to the WBZ report, LeBlanc allegedly followed a male customer into a Barnes & Noble bathroom in 2000 and “touched himself inappropriately” in front of a urinal. The customer told police he “didn’t actually see (it) but that he knows what it sounds like,” according to a police report from 2000 cited by the television station.

LeBlanc was not charged with any crimes over these incidents.

But LeBlanc was charged in 2008 with a single count of assault and battery for giving fellow attorney Pamela Saia-Rogers a bear hug in Lawrence District Court.

LeBlanc was placed on six-months pretrial probation in August 2010 and was told to send a letter of apology as a result of the incident.

LeBlanc is running for councilor-at-large against incumbent Joyce Campagnone and challengers Sharon Birchall, Daniel Grayton and James Jajuga.

LeBlanc says the allegations are an effort “to stir up trouble for me.” But LeBlanc’s troubles are of his own making.

The councilor-at-large race should be about what’s best for Methuen, not the questionable judgment of Robert LeBlanc. He should withdraw from the race.