Leekin's son dropped from criminal investigation in child abuse case

Date: 2007-10-01
Source: tcpalm.com

Leekin's son dropped from criminal investigation in child abuse case

By Derek Simmonsen, Tyler Treadway
12:03 p.m., October 1, 2007

PORT ST. LUCIE — Prosecutors have decided not to file criminal charges against Judith Leekin's biological son after being unable to corroborate accusations made by some of her adopted children against him.

"Desmond Leekin is nothing more than potentially a witness in this case and we're not seeking criminal charges against him at this time," said Assistant State Attorney Jeff Hendriks. The State Attorney's Office previously released court records showing police had investigated accusations made by several of Judith Leekin's adopted children that her biological son had participated in handcuffing and binding them.

Desmond Leekin, 39, denied the accusations in interviews with detectives and took a polygraph test that was inconclusive, but leaned toward him telling the truth, according to police reports. He said he rarely went to her home and didn't know about the large number of children she had adopted.

Hendriks said there was no corroborating evidence to back up the stories told by the adopted children and there was no evidence at all that Desmond Leekin assisted his mother in committing fraud. Judith Leekin, 62, of Port St. Lucie, has been charged with 10 felonies alleging she abused and neglected children while collecting roughly $2 million for their care; she remains at the St. Lucie County Jail in lieu of bail totaling more than $4 million.

Her defense attorney Mario Garcia has filed a motion to withdraw from the case at her request, writing that Leekin "has not complied with the terms of the employment agreement with this attorney," according to court records obtained Monday. He could not be reached for comment.

The motion refers to the Cullen Law Firm in West Palm Beach as Leekin's new counsel, but principal Mark A. Cullen said he has no intentions of participating in the case.

Hendricks said he thinks a hearing on the motion to withdraw will take place this week. His office has no position on the matter, he said.

Judith Leekin's adopted children now range in age from 15 to 27 and most are under the custody of the Department of Children and Families.

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