From the December 1998 Idaho Observer:
Judge, Prosecutor ignore evidence to persecute innocent Latah County man
Fred Leas, 50, of Helmer is a convicted felon. He was convicted of Custodial Interference in the court of 2nd District Judge John R. Stegner in June, 1997, because he failed to return his two youngest children, daughters Heather and Audrey, to their mother in the summer of 1996.
Leas was sentenced to 78 days in county jail, less 48 days for time served stemming from his being captured in South Dakota where he and his four children had hidden from their mother and step father.
In the court of common sense, Leas would only be found guilty of loving his children and guilty of sacrificing his own freedom to protect them from being forced to live in what evidence indicates is a violent, perverse, drug and sexually-abusive environment.
For some reason that defies logic and ignores all of the evidence, the state and its tax-paid legal system and its tax-paid child protection system, does not seem very interested in the truth.
For five years Leas has sought relief from the court system and for five years he has been denied. He has filed almost 30 complaints with Child Protective Services (CPS) wherein he alleges sexual and physical abuse of his children. CPS has done nothing to investigate the charges. Leas has been in court 130 times for matters related to the custody of his children and still nothing resembling justice has transpired. To the contrary, evidence and testimony that would clearly illuminate what is really happening in this case is not being allowed into court. Leas has never missed a scheduled court date nor has he ever even appeared late. Leas has done everything the court has asked him to do and has hidden nothing in his selfless attempt to protect his children.
Leas has two grown children from a previous marriage who have nothing but good things to say about their father.
Leas and his ex-wife also have two boys, Scott, 12, and Shane, 16, both of whom have run away from their mother's home and have horror stories to tell about their lives with their mother and her current husband. Leas has legal custody of Scott and Shane has been forced to live in hiding to avoid capture by a state that will force him to live with his mother rather than listen to what he has to say about her.
The following story describes how, based upon heresay, an innocent man can have his life ruined and how "the system" will perpetuate the ruination of an innocent man for its own purposes. But that is not the most serious crime that is being committed here. The most serious crime being committed here is that four innocent children are being robbed of their childhood and the entire tax-paid system and its legions of bureaucrats who are employed to protect the interests of children are failing utterly to do so.
by Don Harkins
Welcome to a father's nightmare
The story begins on the evening of February 28, 1993, when Leas and his then-wife Ruth were having friends Tammy Palmer and Lynn Curtis over for dinner. It was cold and icy outside and Ruth apparently slipped and fell on the sidewalk as she was bringing ice cream and peach cobbler to her husband and her guests who were all visiting in the "bunkhouse" which was detached from the home.
Ruth banged her head up and bruised herself in several places. According to Leas and his guests, Leas offered to take her to the hospital, but Ruth declined. It is interesting to note that, according to Leas, none of the dishes broke in Ruth's fall and that the ice cream and peach cobbler were neatly sitting upright in the snow the next day when he and his kids ate them.
After the alleged fall, Ruth and Palmer went to a local tavern to buy some beer. From that point on things become very strange.
While Ruth and Palmer were out to buy some beer, somebody contacted the Latah County Sheriff's Department to report that Ruth had been the victim of domestic violence. Ruth and Palmer returned with beer and with no indication that anything was amiss.
At about 11 p.m. that same evening, Leas' daughter-in-law came to the Leas home to inform them that Ruth had apparently left her purse at the tavern where the beer was purchased and that the purse, which had been found in the possession of a man who had been arrested for DUI, had a large amount of money in it.
Deputy Tom Poleck then arrived at the Leas residence to transport Ruth 40 miles to Moscow to reclaim her purse.
"I suggested to Poleck that we just call it a night and drive to Moscow in the morning to get Ruth's purse, but Poleck insisted that Ruth leave with him immediately," recalled Leas.
Leas went to bed and awakened at 3 a.m. surprised to find that his wife had not yet returned. Leas got dressed twice to go to the closest pay phone to call the sheriff's office to find out what had happened to his wife. With the first call he was told that all of the deputies had been busy on a call so the purse recovery issue had been delayed. Finally she was returned at 7 a.m.
Apparently the purse issue was a ruse because it turns out that Ruth had filed a report with the Latah County Sheriff that her bruises were the result of a beating she had received from Leas on the evening of 2/28/93 -- an evening where witness accounts prove that at no time were Ruth and Leas alone.
Completely unaware that his wife had already included several people, including members of the Latah County Sheriff's Department, in a perverse conspiracy to leave her husband through a cloud of bogus allegations of domestic violence, the Leas' lived together in relative harmony until March 13, 1993 -- their son Shane's birthday.
Leas had prepared a birthday party for his son. Ruth, after reportedly spending the afternoon at the Busy Corner Bar in Deary, came home at 5 p.m. and tried to get Leas to go out for an evening of drinking. When he refused, Ruth left to continue drinking and Leas stayed home with his kids and had a party.
According to Leas, Ruth returned home at 1:30 a.m. very intoxicated. The next day Leas had reason to believe that Ruth had been with another man and, when he confronted her about it, Leas contends that she became very violent and profane and that he had no choice but to physically force the still-intoxicated woman out of the home. Leas also told her right then that he had "had it" and that he was going to divorce her.
Both Lease and Ruth received minor injuries from that exchange. The kids, though they did not actually witness the altercation, did hear what happened and saw that their father returned to them with deep scratches on his face and eyelids.
Later, after Ruth had sobered up and had calmed down and after digesting Leas' threat to divorce her (a development that would complicate her intention to divorce him in a storm of violent accusations), Leas softened and Ruth, promising that she would change her ways, came home.
Leas, trusting, uncomplicated and decent man, was hopeful that things would heal themselves and that his marriage would remain intact. His hopes were shattered at 7 a.m. on the morning of March 17, 1993, when he was awakened by Latah County Sheriff's Deputies Joe McCarthy and George McGinty who had burst into his home, rousted him, spread-eagled him on the livingroom floor, handcuffed him and arrested Leas on a charge of domestic battery, apparently stemming from the 2/28/93 report Ruth had filed the evening her purse had allegedly been stolen.
The Leas children were inconsolably distraught over the incident, which they all witnessed, and had no idea why this was happening to their father.
Leas was booked into the Latah County Jail and made bail immediately. He returned home with friend Bruce Spangler and found three county sheriff vehicles in his driveway. According to Leas, he approached the deputies on foot and asked them what was going on. In a threatening tone they asked if Leas was armed with a gun or a knife. When Leas responded to the negative, he was immediately arrested again -- this time for felony possession of a controlled substance.
When Leas asked the deputies what this was all about as he was being handcuffed, they informed him that Ruth had signed a search warrant to allow the premises to be searched and the search produced over three ounces of marijuana and smoking paraphernalia.
Nobody who has dealings with Leas has ever known him to be a pot smoker, though he does admit to having used marijuana several years ago. The Latah County Sheriff's Department never fingerprinted the container which held the weed, nor did it ever attempt to conduct a drug test to determine whether or not he had marijuana in his blood.
Keith Lunders, a man who has done an excellent job in attempting to help Leas expose the truth in these matters, noted in reference to the police's omission of certain procedures which would serve to immediately prove or disprove Leas' possession of a fairly large quantity of marijuana that, "These people are either grossly incompetent at law enforcement, or they knew that he would test negative and didn't want to take the chance of blowing their case."
Lunders also stated that, "without hesitation, I believe it (Leas' possession of marijuana) to be a lie."
I will also say, without hesitation, that Leas is a completely innocent man who has become the victim of a horrible conspiracy which includes, Ruth, law enforcement, judges and prosecutors, "expert" witnesses and Ruth's current husband Paul Mohr. I suspect that Mohr is the personality which is behind all of the bad things that have happened to Leas. I also have reason to believe that there is some sort of an underworld relationship between Mohr and Latah County Prosecutor Thompson that is the foundation of the state's role in the conspiracy to throw Leas in prison.
Leas, naively following the advice of court-appointed attorney Michael Hennegan (who has since been disbarred), copped a plea to bogus charges of possession and spent 6 days in jail.
Leas was later told by his children that Ruth had told them that he was going to prison for the rest of his life and that they would not see him anymore. Leas believes that Ruth was behind the frame-up and that she was able to plant the marijuana after she had obtained it from her brother Harley Dobsen whose heavy marijuana use is not difficult to determine.
Enter Christine Elder
The Leas' were divorced and by the summer of 1995, Leas met Christine Elder. The two became very close and the Leas children began to really attach themselves to Elder.
By this time Ruth had taken up with Mohr. According to Leas, Ruth, who was jealous of Elder's growing relationship with her children, began to poison her mind with lies about Leas that were based upon the conspiracy of lies of violence and drug abuse which were born the night of February 28, 1993.
According to Elder, who eventually fled to California where she still lives, in tapes as well as unsolicited letters to Leas, the Mohrs convinced her to move in with them and become part of their unconscionable conspiracy to put Leas in prison for the rest of his life. Again, according to Elder, the Mohrs were obsessed with the notion that they must put Leas in prison so that they may enjoy uncontested custody of the Leas children.
Leas was then arrested and charged with sodomy rape at gunpoint. Elder has confessed on tape to the following in regard to the incident which landed Leas in jail for two days and cost him a $2,500 bond: Paul Mohr got her drunk on 10/29/95, sodomized her and then cleaned her up with a bedsheet. Mohr then instructed Elder to file a complaint against Leas on 10/30/95 wherein she claimed that he had raped and sodomized her at gunpoint on 10/21/95.
According to Leas, Latah County Detective Don King had said that it was his opinion that a sodomy had taken place as evidenced by the soiled sheet, but that the evidence on the sheet was too fresh to have been nine days old. Leas also maintains that King informed him that he was positive that there would be semen stains on the sheet as well. The sheet itself would hold enough pathological evidence to prove Leas' innocence of this heinous and disgusting crime.
Latah County Prosecutor William Thompson ordered an investigation of the incident and the sheet was sent to the state crime lab. The investigation was apparently halted when Elder ended her relationship with the Mohrs and refused to cooperate any further with the prosecutor's office or the University of Idaho Legal Aid Clinic which had been included into this increasingly perverse conspiracy to ruin Leas. It would appear from the record that Thompson ended his attempts to prosecute Leas for this horrible crime only after he had learned that Elder had informed Leas as to what was really going on.
The Thompson factor
The following incidents place into question Thompson's relationship to the Mohrs. Paul Mohr reportedly has an outstanding warrant in Wyoming for simple battery and unlawful touching and has a very well-documented history of criminally violent behavior and is a convicted felon. According to the Leas children, Mohr is armed, which would be illegal considering his criminal history.
According to Elder, Mohr broke into her home April 5, 1996, and stole her diary and turned it over to the Moscow Police Department. Leas stated that Elder told her that that the diary was in Thompson's possession which was confusing to her because Thompson had not filed any charges against the Mohr's or Elder for filing a false report over the sodomy charges against Leas.
Leas has attempted to obtain copies of the diary entries which document this incident, but has been unable to do so. Leas believes that Thompson attempted to prosecute him for three months after he had access to the diary.
Questions for Thompson:
In the hopes that a copy of this article will reach Latah County Prosecutor Thompson, we ask you, sir, why on earth would you attempt to prosecute a man who, if you were to allow the evidence to be judged on its own merit, would clear an innocent man of any wrong-doing in this increasingly sick conspiracy to send Fred Leas to prison?
Why would you continue to persecute Leas, who, according to the people who know him, his other children and the conspicuous absence of a criminal record, has been a decent and honest man his whole life?
Most importantly, Mr. Prosecutor, what element of your relationship with the Mohr's would keep you from filing charges against them for entering into a conspiracy to defraud your office and, therefore, the people of Latah County and also, therefore, the people of the state of Idaho?
Why do you refuse to grant prosecutorial immunity to Elder in exchange for her testimony? Elder has stated that she is willing to testify that this entire horror story is exactly what we all know it to be and so the guilty parties could be charged with the appropriate crimes, the Leas children could go home to their father where they belong and Leas could have his life back and be thoroughly vindicated of the charges that have been made against him. Why won't you clear the path for her to testify? Are there a few things that she has to say which might make you look like you are yourself part of a criminal conspiracy to falsely prosecute an innocent man?
Mr. elected public servant, why do you seem to want to protect the interests of Mohr? Is there something that you are not telling us about your relationship with Mohr? According to court transcripts from September 28, 1998, you referred to Mohr as if you could not remember his last name. It appears to me that you deliberately made a record in court in an effort to convince somebody that you had no prior contact with Mohr and his sordid past. Why did you do that? Is it because you do have a relationship with this convicted felon who is allegedly a walking federal firearms laws violation and a man capable of sodomizing a woman and getting her blame it on somebody else?
Where is the sheet? Where is her taped confession (we understand that it has come into your possession in a rather interesting manner)? Where is Elder's diary?
Although this situation is probably all very unique in your mind, we have seen this scenario play out dozens of times against innocent people who are being falsely prosecuted. Our investigations always find that either drugs or money are involved.
Which one is it with you? Drugs or money? Both? Or, is there some logical explanation for this travesty of justice, Mr. Prosecutor?
You must be able to see that an objective person has little choice but to conclude that your actions obstruct due process and indicate that you are protecting the Mohrs for reasons which resist common sense.
The BB gun incident
Elder also confessed to her involvement in an incident which involved Leas being arrested again, this time for shooting out the windows of Elder's Subaru in October, 1995. Elder maintains that Paul and Ruth Mohr did that actual damage and that the report which she filed was false. Elder's recounting of the incident is also contained in her diary which Thompson has thus far failed to present to the court as evidence.
Although it is clear to people with a sixth grade understanding of life as to what this incident is all about, it has still not been resolved in Stegner's court and, according to Thompson, as of September 28, 1998, the case is "in an inactive status within the statute of limitations," which he went on to explain will expire October 16, 2000.
That admission came at the Sept. 28 hearing that was held in response to a motion filed by Leas to get the BB gun back.
Although the purpose of the hearing is almost silly, Leas, who had repeatedly been harmed more than helped by his legal counsel, was representing himself pro se.
The court transcripts show that Judge Stegner was patient with Leas and allowed him to make a record. The transcripts also show that the judge refused to acknowledge any of Leas' statements and kept his court hidden in the procedure of only considering testimony and evidence specific to the BB gun.
Leas stated for the record that, "...the most important thing here today, your Honor, is for the sake of truth and justice. Mr. Thompson knows who committed that crime and he has a written (confession) of it and he will not move forward with the prosecution because of his involvement in my ex-wife trying to send me to prison to deprive me of my contact with my children. That is the truth spoken here today, your Honor."
The judge ruled that the BB gun must stay in evidence until the case is reopened or 10/16/2000 -- whichever comes first.
Interestingly, Elder passed a polygraph in which she stated she had no involvement in shooting out the windows of her own car. In the court transcripts, Thompson mentions this fact. Leas stated, also for the record, that Elder had told him in the taped conversation (which is apparently still in Thompson's possession) that, "Mr. Thompson assured her that that if she took the polygraph examination he had made arrangements to make it appear that she was telling the truth."
Is there any wonder why Thompson refuses to allow the tape to be introduced as evidence?
Magistrate Calhoun's collection agency
On July 2, 1998, Magistrate Stephen Calhoun filed an order commanding Leas to pay his half of the fees toward court-appointed witness Dr. Gregory Wilson. On October 29, 1998, Leas filed a Notice of Exception and Objection to the Calhoun order on grounds that, "The Plaintiff should not be required to pay for a court-appointed witness who is prejudiced against, and has displayed unprofessional and hostile conduct towards, the Plaintiff."
Calhoun's order is absurd and illegal in the first place because he was using his authority to influence the outcome of a civil matter that should have been brought forward by Dr. Wilson and not by the court. If this were the manner in which justice were to be applied in America, then the Calhouns in this country would have the job description of a bill collector.
Wilson is also in possession of another critical piece of evidence which is being withheld from the court. Though he promised Leas that he would be provided a copy of a three-hour videotape of his girls' testimony regarding the custody battle between their parents and, according to Leas who has seen the tape, what the girls have to say is very damaging to the Mohrs, he has never been given a copy, nor has a copy been made available to the court.
Judge Stegner upheld Leas' motion November 28, 1998. According to Leas, Stegner, who is apparently becoming fearful that Leas will soon be in a position to appeal the injustices that have been done unto him, admitted that he and Maureen Laflin from U of I Legal Aid, who has played a key role in the Mohr's efforts to have Leas falsely prosecuted and thrown in prison, have been friends for a long time.
By law, the judge should have recused himself from the case a long time ago because he must do so if a reasonable person could conclude that a conflict of interest may exist.
Fred Leas is innocent. For the last five years his ex-wife, her new husband and the legal system have been conspiring to throw Leas in prison for crimes that he has not committed -- apparently for the purpose of Ruth being granted uncontested custody of all four of her children -- two of which cannot be kept there because they will escape and the other two who appear to be prisoners in a perverse war. This matter, which has gone on for five years and has unnecessarily cost taxpayers who knows how many hundreds of thousands of dollars, could be decided within a week if the evidence were allowed into court.
It shouldn't take a law degree for a prosecutor to see that:
1. Elder should be allowed prosecutorial immunity so that she can tell her side of the story to the court and so that she may be cross examined by the court.
2. The soiled sheet should be analyzed. The DNA will prove conclusively whether or not Paul Mohr sodomized Elder as Elder claims. If her story checks out, then the court will have reason to file charges against Mohr and this entire travesty will begin to unwind. The difference this time will be that the people who are actually guilty of something will be prosecuted.
It is Christmas time. Leas has not seen his girls for over a year. Wouldn't it be nice if evidence could be introduced into a court that would prove the innocent to be innocent and prove the guilty to be guilty?
To Judge Stegner, Latah County Prosecutor Thompson, "friend of the court" Psychologist Wilson, legal aid person Laflin, please write a letter to the editor or somehow defend your actions here. You have all become players in a conspiracy to ruin the life of an innocent man and rob four innocent children of their childhood. Any decent person would be ashamed of themselves for doing what you people have done. How do you sleep at night knowing what you have done to these people?
To the people of Latah County:
You have just had a peek into your criminal justice system. Perhaps you should fire your judge and your prosecutor because if they can become part of a conspiracy to ruin Fred Leas and his children, they have likely done it to others already and you or somebody you love might be next.
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