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Former correctional officer gets 8 years for child abuse

December 14, 2009|By BRIDGET DiCOSMO

HAGERSTOWN -- Washington County Circuit Judge W. Kennedy Boone III on Monday sentenced a former correctional officer to serve eight years in prison on two counts of child abuse.

Garland Leasure, 28, formerly of 316 N. Cannon Ave., received a sentence of 15 years in prison for the first count of second-degree child abuse, but Boone ordered seven years of it suspended.

On the second count of second-degree child abuse, Leasure was given a suspended sentence of 10 years in prison to run consecutively to the first count.

Leasure entered an Alford plea to both counts of child abuse on Oct. 28, and the state dropped six related charges of two counts of first-degree child abuse, two counts of second-degree child abuse and two counts of reckless endangerment.

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Under an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges the state has sufficient evidence to gain a conviction should the case go to trial.

Alan L. Winik, Leasure's defense attorney, argued that his client had no prior criminal record, had been very involved in his former community in West Virginia, and that serving five years in prison would give him enough time to "come to terms with the events that brought him here."

The father of the two children who were victims in the case, both of whom were younger than 10, said he wanted them to see Leasure behind bars for a long time.

"They're still scarred, mentally and physically," the victims' father said.

Assistant Washington County state's attorney Brett Wilson referred to the abuse inflicted on the children as "ongoing, systematic torturing."

Both children suffered visible bruising on their faces and bodies, injuries to their genitalia, and one of the victims was burned with a hair dryer, Wilson said.

In August, a Washington County jury convicted Sabrina Whiteman, Leasure's co-defendant in the case, on two counts each of second-degree child abuse, second-degree assault and contributing to the condition of a child. She was acquitted of two charges of first-degree assault.

Washington County Circuit Judge M. Kenneth Long Jr. on Nov. 5 sentenced Whiteman to seven and a half years in prison on each of the counts of child abuse, to run consecutively, and to three years each on the contributing to the condition of a child convictions, to run concurrently with the child abuse charges.

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