Monday, July 28, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

DA: Child abuser will spend 'rest of eternity in hell'

Leroy Mitchell, 60.
Leroy Mitchell, 60. Chester County District Attorney's Office

A former Chester County Prison lieutenant was sentenced Wednesday to 20 to 40 years in prison for sexually abusing foster children that were in his care.

Leroy Mitchell, 60, pleaded guilty Tuesday to sexually abusing five children, though prosecutors said he and his wife fostered more than 50 children for over a decade.

The admission drew strong words from Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan, who said in a statement that Mitchell “will spend the rest of his life in prison and the rest of eternity in hell.”

“He stole the innocence and youth of these children,” Hogan said. “No punishment is severe enough for this conduct.”

Mitchell, who worked at Chester County Prison for over 20 years, was active in his church and served as a volunteer coach for youth sports, officials said.

That facade of respectability was shattered after a 10-year-old child stepped forward in May 2013 and reported Mitchell sexually assaulted her. During an interview with investigators, Mitchell admitted to assaulting that victim and another child, as well.

A nationwide investigation was launched, spurring other victims to come forward. Investigators said they all told similar stories of Mitchell gaining their trust, then using it to abuse them.

Mitchell pleaded guilty to aggravated indecent assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault, corruption of minors and endangering the welfare of children

Prosecutors said they were aware of additional alleged victims, but that those cases were outside the statute of limitations.

“This is one of the most disturbing child abuse cases in the history of Chester County,” Hogan said. “The defendant was a wolf in sheep’s clothing, using his respectability to gain access to innocent children.”

Contact Alex Wigglesworth at 215-854-2305 or Follow @phila_lex on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443; Follow @phillynews on Twitter.

Alex Wigglesworth PHILLY.COM
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