From the July 2001 Idaho Observer:

Father's nightmare coming to an end

New Mexico police investigating perverse stepfather

ROSWELL, New Mexico -- After eight years, 140 court appearances and 14 Idaho Judges, Fred Leas may finally obtain custody of his two daughters Audry, 14 and Hattie, 12, at a custody trial July 23 in Moscow. However, it took a New Mexico investigation of the activities of Paul Mohr to create light at the end of this perverse child custody case tunnel.

In February 1993, Leas' wife Ruth entered into a conspiracy with then boyfriend Mohr to have Leas thrown into prison and be forever separated from his girls. Mohr is known by many to be drug dealer and drug abuser and general reprobate. Evidence has been surfacing to indicate that Mohr has an underworld relationship with Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson.

Since 1993, Leas, 52, has been accused of possession of marijuana, spousal abuse and sodomy rape at gunpoint, indecent liberties and willful destruction of private property -- all of which were based upon reports filed or instigated by the Mohrs that have been proven to be false. Thompson has never attempted to prosecute the Mohrs for their attempts to use his office to unjustly prosecute Leas.

The Mohrs have been perpetually represented at public expense by The Idaho Legal Aid Clinic. Leas and his daughters have tried repeatedly to convince the Latah County and Idaho state officials that Mohr is violent, sexually perverse and pathologically substance abusive. The Latah County Sheriff's Department, Prosecutor Thompson, all of the 14 judges who sat on the case, Child Psychologist Greg Wilson, Probation Officer Tom Blewett and various members of Child Protective Services have all conspired to keep the Leas girls in the custody of the Mohrs. Representative June Judd commented three years ago that the entire Leas child custody nightmare is the result of public officials using each other to cover their actions in this matter.

In 1996, a desperate Leas rescued his girls and hid them out in South Dakota until they were found out. Leas was prosecuted by Thompson for Custodial Interference even though he had seen a videotaped interview of the Leas girls wherein they describe horrors that little girls should not be ordered by the state to endure.

In 1999, the Mohrs violated a court order and moved the girls to New Mexico. Thompson would not prosecute them for custodial interference and the Idaho Legal Aid Clinic continued to represent them at public expense -- even though they had moved to a different state.

Last summer when the girls came up for court-ordered summer visitation Leas hid them, refused to send them back to their mother, had them interviewed by the FBI and went to jail for not divulging their whereabouts. After months of negotiations, Leas was confident that the state finally understood that to send them back to the home of their mother would be to send them back to a drug infested and sexually abusive environment. So the girls were placed into foster care to await a hearing wherein they would finally be allowed to testify. The hearing was held May 31, 2001.

The girls testified to the abuses they have suffered at the hands of Mohr. Ruth appeared by phone represented by the Legal Aid Clinic. Judge Michael Griffin ruled in favor of the mother but, apparently satisfied that Mohr was a child molestor, ordered him out of the house as a condition of custody. He then, at public expense, put the girls on an airplane and sent them back to Roswell.

Leas followed his girls to Roswell and took a copy of the May 31 hearing transcript to Chaves County Detective John Merideth. Merideth commented that, “Idaho did a poor investigation into the allegations of sexual abuse.”

Merideth called Mohr in for a polygraph, which he reportedly failed. Leas is convinced that by the time Merideth's investigation is complete, Mohr will be forced to stand trial for his involvement in child pornography, sexual abuse and drug trafficking -- evidence of which has been before Idaho courts for nearly eight years.

See Nov., 1998; April, 1999; Feb, 1999 editions of The IO for background stories.

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