From the February 2000 Idaho Observer:
The lesson: patience, love can conquer evil
by The Idaho Observer
MOSCOW -- For those of you who have been following the child custody nightmare of Fred Leas and his four children, keep the prayers coming because it appears that we are on the verge of reporting the type of victory that we all like to see: David toppling Goliath.
Fred Leas, 51, is a kind, simple man who believes that his children are the most important thing on earth. It is his love for his four young children, Shane, 17, Scott, 15, Audry, 13 and Hattie, 11, that has been slowly and systematically undermining the alliance of evil that has been ruling Latah county for many years.
Keep in mind as you read this saga that it begins when these children were 7 years younger than they are today. What makes me the maddest is how all these darn state employees who are supposed to protect children have done everything in their power to ruin my kids'childhoods -- and they have done an excellent job of that, commented Leas.
Finally, after seven years, people involved in the conspiracy are telling on each other, property owners are protesting the estimated $250,000 their county has spent persecuting this man, citizens are writing letters to the editor, local newspapers are writing articles that are at least not unfavorable to Leas' side of the story and the truth is beginning to surface.
The Leas nightmare began February 28, 1993, when Leas' then wife Ruth fell on the ice while the couple was entertaining friends and then later blamed Leas for the injuries.
"This entire deal could have been avoided if they (Latah county) would have let Tammy Palmer testify, said Leas.
Palmer was with the Leases that night and knows that there was no way Leas could have hurt his wife and that he even offered to take her to the hospital.
That night, Ruth took off and thus began her attempts to ruin Leas' life, have him thrown in prison and make sure that he was never able to see his kids again.
All of this has been accomplished with the apparent approval of the Latah County Sheriff's Department, Latah County County Prosecutor Bill Thompson and Deputy Prosecutor Robin Eckman, District Judge John Stegner (and Stegner's first cousin State Probation Officer Tom Blewett), Child Psychologist Greg Wilson, Idaho Legal Aid Attorney Maureen Laflin (a longtime friend of Judge Stegner) and too many Child Protective Service bureaucrats to name.
Incidentally, Representative June Judd (R-St. Maries), who has been supportive of Leas and knows the truth, has stated that, considering Stegner's longtime friendship with Laflin, he never should have heard anything in regard to this case.
The conspiracy seems to center around the man Ruth eventually married. Paul Mohr, a violent and perverse man who is a known drug dealer, drug user, and convicted pedophile, was apparently able to rally this coven conspiracy of elected and unelected officials through his underworld connections to them. After reporting this story since November, 1998, we believe that Mohr was owed favors of silence and thus began Leas' descent into hell.
Since February, 1998, Leas has been in court over 130 times. He has never been late nor has he missed a date. County employees who are not part of the conspiracy greet Leas warmly and seem to know the truth. On the other hand, they ignore Ruth when they see her and even have obvious disdain for her. Such evidence would not hold up in a court even if law were in it, but it certainly speaks volumes in assessing the character of the two people.
The short list of injustices against this man
Leas has been subjected to the following injustices, with the blessing if not active participation of Thompson and the court, since Ruth left Leas for Mohr.
* He was falsely accused of the sodomy rape at gunpoint of Christine Elder (Elder later confessed that Mohr sodomized her and told her to file a false police report stating that Leas committed the heinous crime at gunpoint in an effort to have him locked up for a long time. Thompson refused to prosecute the Mohrs and would not grant Elder prosecutorial immunity in trade for her confession after she fled the area ashamed of herself).
* Leas was framed with felony possession of marijuana though everybody who knows him knows that he would never have a quantity of the illegal drug in his possesstion and blood tests for marijuana came up negative. No attempt was ever made to find the person who actually owned the weed.
* Leas was accused of vandalizing the Mohr's car by shooting out its windows. It was later proved that they vandalized their own property and filed false police reports blaming Leas for the damage. Thompson refused to prosecute the Mohrs for filing a false police report.
* When he could not get child protective people to listen to him even though Mohr was a drug dealer, a sexual pervert and an alcoholic who threatened to kill Leas' children if they ever told anybody what a creep he was, he kidnapped his children and kept them in hiding in South Dakota until he was captured and the children returned to their mother. Leas was prosecuted for custodial interference, sentenced to 78 days in jail, less 48 days for time served and probation. The boys will not stay with their mother. Period. If forced, they will run away to be with their father. The girls have been forced by the state and their own fear to stay with the Mohrs.
* The Mohrs, without asking the court or informing Leas, moved the girls to Roswell, New Mexico. Though Thompson prosecuted Leas for custodial interference when he moved the children out of state in violation of a court order, Thompson, to this day, refuses to prosecute the Mohrs for the same crime for which Leas is still under probation.
* The Mohrs have committed several felony crimes that can be proven with evidence, Thompson refuses to prosecute.
* Thompson arranged a false polygraph of Christine Elder.
* Tom Blewett has been attempting to violate Leas into prison through manufacturing evidence and placed a slanderous letter in Leas' file that accused him of taking liberties with his daughters.
* Thompson and Eckman conspired with Detective Mark Benson to falsely charge Leas with the rape of a 15-year-old girl who was closely associated with the sheriff's office.
* Maureen Laflin attempted to coerce Elder to sign an affidavit stating that Leas had oral sex with his little girls (That was the straw for Elder who then knew that Leas was innocent and that all of these people were conspiring against him).
And that is just to name a few things to which this man has been subjected. After seven years of knowing that your children are in the custody of an alcoholic, drug addict mother who lives with a violent pedophile, drug dealer husband; after seven years of knowing that at any time a county agent could arrest you, beat you and imprison you for imaginary crimes; after seven years of being demonized by the press and looked upon as a criminal by everybody in positions of authority even though you are only guilty of loving your children and desiring to provide them with a decent home; after seven years of being one man and the object of a conspiracy that intends to put you in prison to protect the underworld activities of some people in Latah county government, patient, decent, dedicated Fred Leas is about to topple a corrupt coven of county machinery that has victimized many people for fun and profit.
Here's the latest:
In late November, Judge Stegner recused himself from Leas' probation violation case because it was learned in open court that the chief witness against Leas for probation violation, Probation Officer Tom Blewett, was the judge's cousin. The two have been doing everything in their power to throw Leas in prison so he cannot continue exposing this whole mess.
By December 3, Judge Stegner had been reassigned to the case by Judge Schilling.
Leas' attorney Steve MaHaffey filed objections to Stegner's reassignment in January. Stegner recused himself once again. The case has been reassigned to Judge Reinhardt (Schilling has washed his hands of this matter by claiming a conflict due to his secretary having been a legal assistant at Idaho Legal Aid while that entity was representing Ruth. It is interesting that Schilling would reassign Stegner even though his cousin was Leas' probation officer, but claims conflict due to his secretary).
Late January: Several years ago, Leas paid friend of the court Child Psychologist Greg Wilson of Pullman, Washington, $1,500 to make a videotape of his girls. The tape, approximately three hours in duration, is enough to make you sick, said Leas. The tape describes in detail what life with mommy and Mohr is like. Wilson will not proivide Leas with the tape. Thompson, who has seen the tape and should, if his interest was the safety of the children and justice, want the tape to be admitted as evidence, will not allow release of the tape. That tape alone would expose what this entire travesty is all about. Leas has employed a Subpeona Duces Tecum in an effort to compel Wilson to give the tape up because, aside from all of the other reasons, it is Fred's property. All Leas needs is an Idaho Judge to sign the Subpeona, Leas will carry the Subpeona to Washington State District Judge Lydon, who would command Wilson to give up the tape.
In other words, all Leas needs is an honest Idaho judge to sign a domument that will compel a Washington judge to turn a tape over so that justice may prevail.
The Subpeona was presented to Magistrate Greg Kalbfleish who refused to sign it. Kalbfleish ruled in favor of Leas April, 1999, by ruling that his girls must be allowed to spend the summer in Idaho with their father. Kalbfleish has since been unsympathetic to Leas and is now an apparent accomplice to the travesty that is such an embarrassment to Latah county.
Leas' attorneys plan to file a Affidavit of Prejudice against Kalbfleish. It turns out that his wife is a Child Protective Services attorney out of Lewiston.
A meeting was held before the Board of Latah County Commissioners in January. Several property owners attended and vented their anger at a county that would spend so much money to persecute an innocent man and expressed their support for Leas. Another meeting is planned and a petition is being circulated to show the county commissioners that people are watching.
According to Leas, Commissioners Paul Kimmel and Sam Duncan are sympathetic to Leas problems. Commissioner Lorecca Stauber, however, is apparently attempting to continue covering for the actions of the other conspirators.
You can call the Latah County Courthouse operator at (208) 882-8580 and ask to speak to Thompson, Stegner or the county commissioners.