Larimer County couple charged with abuse of adopted Russian daughters

Date: 2010-08-26

The adoptive parents of three sisters from Russia have been charged with child abuse in Larimer County in a disturbing case that extends as far back as five years.

Edelwina Leschinsky, 46, and Steven Leschinsky, 43, of Larimer County were arrested in March and have both been charged with one felony count of child abuse and four other related charges.

The arrest affidavit obtained by 9NEWS on Wednesday reveals disturbing details.

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

On Jan. 21, one of the sisters walked into Kinard Core Knowledge Middle School in Fort Collins 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 police delved further, they say they discovered abuse that dates back to the girls' arrival in the United States.

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

One girl told police the two made them do literally hundreds of push-ups while a board with nails sat just below their thighs.

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

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

Another common punishment, according to police, was "fisties," having to remain in a push-up position with 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."

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 toward an agreeable resolution."

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

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


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