By John Chambless
New charges brought against Leroy Mitchell, a former Chester County Prison lieutenant, Unionville sports coach and foster parent, reveal a pattern of sexual abuse of children dating back more than 40 years.
Mitchell, 60, was originally charged with sexually abusing two girls who had been in his care. The new criminal complaint brought forward five more juvenile victims.
In a press release dated July 31, Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan outlined the charges against Mitchell, saying, "For the last 40 years, the defendant built his life around getting access to children in order to sexually abuse them. His job, his family life, and his coaching activities were part of an act to lure children to him. The defendant was a wolf in sheep's clothing."
Mitchell formerly lived in West Bradford Township and in Newlin Township. He and his wife were foster parents to more than 50 children between 1989 and 1999. Mitchell also volunteered as a girls' softball coach for the Unionville Recreation Association between 1984 and 1994.
Mitchell is charged with multiple counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault, endangering the welfare of children and related charges. Out of the seven victims, five are within the statute of limitations. Two of the older incidents are outside the statute of limitations, but are part of the case because they show a pattern of conduct.
"This is a rapidly expanding investigation," Hogan said in the press release. "After the media reported the initial abuse charges, multiple other victims have come forward. With abuse occurring over the decades, and with the defendant's role as both a foster parent and coach, we are concerned that there are even more victims. We will not stop investigating until every victim has a chance to be heard and seek justice."
The lengthy affidavit against Mitchell lists details of the abuse suffered by the girls and one boy.
Victim 1, a 10-year-old girl, was interviewed on May 21, 2013, and told investigators that when she was 9, in the summer of 2012, Mitchell touched her vagina while they were swimming in the Brandywine Creek. In another incident while they were swimming, the victim said Mitchell exposed himself to her. On two other occasions, Mitchell rubbed himself against the victim, and once Mitchell got into bed with the victim while he was naked from the waist down, and he took the victim's pants and underwear off. She ran out of the room.
Victim 2 told Chester County Detectives that Mitchell had touched her vagina about five times when she was 7 years old. She told him to stop but he refused, the victim testified. Mitchell would only stop when he thought he heard someone else in the house.
On May 31, 2013, Mitchell was interviewed by police and admitted that he touched the vaginas and other areas of both girls as they described. He was, at the time of the incidents, in a caretaking role for both of the girls.
Victim 3, who is now 23, said she was a former foster child in the Mitchell home. She said Mitchell forced her to perform oral sex on him more than 10 times between 1992 and 1993, beginning when she was 3 years old.
Victim 4, who is now 53 years old, said that when she was between 5 and 9 years old, Mitchell touched her body many times and forced her to perform oral sex once at the Chester County home of Mitchell's parents, between 1966 and 1970.
Victim 5, a former foster child at the Mitchell home, is now 30 years old. He told investigators that between March 1989 and February 1991, Mitchell forced him to perform oral sex between 15 and 20 times, beginning when the boy was 6 or 7 years old.
Victim 6, who is now 41, told investigators that she lived on and off with the Mitchells from the ages of 5 to 18. She said Mitchell invited her to shower with him, and that he walked around naked and tried to kiss her.
Victim 7, who is now 24, was in foster care with the Mitchells for about a year, beginning in August 1995. She said that when she was 6, she awoke to find Mitchell touching her sexually underneath her clothing while she was in bed. She demanded that he stop, and Mitchell eventually left her bedroom. He did not try to touch her after that time, she testified.
Mitchell's wife is not accused in any of the cases. Mitchell is incarcerated at Montgomery County Prison on related charges.
The case is ongoing. Anyone with more information is asked to call Pennsylvania State Police officer David Brodeur at 610-486-6280 or Chester County detective James Ciliberto at 610-344-6866.