According to the Star piece, Leap took an Alford plea, which allowed him to maintain his innocence, but had the effect of a conviction. He says he did it to spare his son the pain of having to testify against him. He was sentenced to three years. But that was before the creation of these sex offender lists, which were then applied retroactively. His life has been hell ever since.
The Leaps have for years been deeply involved in dog rescue. In late August, Natalie Leap received a two-sentence letter from a group for which they had volunteered.
“This weekend your husband’s criminal record was brought to our attention,” it stated. “Given the nature of his conviction and our involvement in the community (our group) can no longer continue our relationship with you or your family.”It’s a miniscule example, Leap said, of what they experience.“I’ve been harassed by police officers, co-workers, bosses, neighbors,” Leap said. To everyone who looks on the Internet, he said, he knows he’s seen as the area pervert.
I’ve recommended this movie before, but for a really moving account of what can happen when children are encouraged to make false accusations of sexual crimes, check out “Witch Hunt”, which documents the hysteria that erupted in Bakersfield, California in the 1990s. There too, children were corrupted into testifying against their own mothers and fathers, and have since spent their lives trying to clear their parents’ names.