Documents: 3 sisters forced to do pushups, run for miles

Date: 2010-08-26

FORT COLLINS - 9NEWS has obtained a copy of court documents linked to a case of child abuse that involves three adopted sisters from Russia.

Their parents, Edelwina Leschinsky, 46, and Steven Leschinsky, 43, who live in Larimer County, have both been charged with one count of felony child abuse along with four other related charges.

They were arrested by the Larimer County Sheriff's Office in March, but this is the first time any media outlet has reported on the incident.

The arrest affidavit obtained by 9NEWS Wednesday tells the story.

According to police statements, the Leschinskys adopted three biological sisters from Russia four to five years ago.

On Jan. 21 of this year, one of the sisters walked into Kinard Junior High with a black eye. Police were called in.

The girl, who is now 13, said she received it from a snow boot thrown by her mother.

As investigators delved further, they say they discovered abuse that dates back to the girls' arrival in the U.S.

After interviewing the other two girls, who are 12 and 14 years old, investigators discovered various forms of "punishment" administered by the parents.

One girl told deputies the Leschinskys made them do literally hundreds of pushups while a board with nails sat just below their thighs.

They also told investigators that Edelwina Leschinsky would order them to hit each other in the head.

In one instance, deputies say the parents made one girl run more than 45 miles in three days because she chewed her food too much.

Another common punishment, according to police, was "fisties," which is when the girls would have to remain in a push-up position while putting their fists on the wood floor. One girl said she remained in that position for 40 minutes.

A doctor who examined one of the girls said she had significant deformity in her left hand and suffered from "serious bodily injury."

Eduardo Cristobal, Edelwina Leschinsky's father, told 9NEWS his family moved to the United States from the Philippines in 1968. He says he spent three months with the Leschinskys at one point and "didn't see anything."

"Spanking, so what?" he said. "We loved the kids."

When asked about the information in the affidavit that talked about the girls being forced to run, he said. "They like to run. Running is not a punishment. They like it. They loved the kids. We didn't abuse the kids. We love the kids. I know she's a good daughter."

The Leschinskys bonded out soon after their arrest. Their attorney, Alexander Garlin offered this statement Wednesday afternoon:

"Mr. and Mrs. Leschinsky are good hard working people who, with the purest of intentions, adopted three Russian sisters. Some extremely difficult adjustments for the children caused great stress within the family. Parental discipline occurred, but we disagree with various things written in the police affidavit. Mr. and Mrs. Leschinsky have fully cooperated with the authorities, and done everything that the courts have asked and more. They have the full support of their many friends and their church. At the present time, all parties are working together towards an agreeable resolution."

Kim Cristobal, Edelwina Leschinsky's sister-in-law, told 9NEWS, "[We're] happy that it's progressing through the system the way it is. [We] support my brother and sister-in-law and care about the three nieces."

The Leschinskys are due back in court on Sept. 7 for a status conference.

The person who tipped 9NEWS off to this story says all three girls are now living in a safe place.

(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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