With her hands shaking and emotion straining her voice, the woman said outside court that her 16-year-old son is trying to put behind him the days of captivity and abuse inflicted on him last September in a home in rural Nova Scotia.
The mother, who cannot be identified, said she didn't anticipate how difficult it would be to hear David James LeBlanc plead guilty to kidnapping, forcible confinement, sexual assault, uttering threats and breach of conditions.
"It was hard," she said. "As a mother, I just wanted to just be alone with him. I just wanted him to suffer. Normally I'm not like that, but it was just overwhelming.
"I want him to suffer."
LeBlanc, 48, entered the pleas Thursday in Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Bridgewater, where two other charges — sexual assault causing bodily harm and administering a noxious substance with intent to cause bodily harm — were withdrawn.
Slumped in a wheelchair and with his thin hands clasped on his lap, LeBlanc said he understood the charges and the maximum penalties that come with them.
"Yes, your honour," he said clearly when asked by the judge if he freely changed his plea to guilty.
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.
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.
The boy's mother said outside court that her son went with a man on the promise of a painting job, but said he was drugged and woke up in chains. She said he escaped once and was recaptured, but finally got away.
In an indictment filed with the Supreme Court, the Crown says LeBlanc held the boy against his will for a week before he was able to escape.
Crown prosecutor Lloyd Tancock said the guilty pleas mean that what would have likely been a lengthy trial with up to 20 witnesses will now not go ahead. He said it also shielded the young victim 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.
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. A sexual assault charge was withdrawn.
Tancock said he will seek an 11-year prison sentence for both cases and will likely craft a joint sentencing recommendation with the defence.
Mike Taylor, LeBlanc's lawyer, said he had been discussing the possibility of entering guilty pleas with his client, but needed more details about the evidence and which charges would be withdrawn.
"He just wants to have it done with," Taylor said after the brief hearing. "He wishes none of it had taken place."
A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for June 14.
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.
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