A former lieutenant at Chester County Prison has been sentenced to 20 to 40 years in state prison for sexually abusing children, Chester County District Attorney Thomas P. Hogan said.
Leroy Mitchell, 60, of West Bradford Township, and his wife served as foster parents to more then 50 children over the years, the District Attorney’s Office said. Mitchell pleaded guilty to abusing five of those children.
Mitchell worked at Chester County Prison for more than 20 years. He was active in his church and coached a variety of youth sports, the District Attorney’s Office said.
“This is one of the most disturbing child abuse cases in the history of Chester County,” Hogan said. “The defendant was a wolf in sheep’s clothing, using his respectability to gain access to innocent children. The Pennsylvania State Police and the Chester County Detectives are to be commended for taking this predator out of our community. Nothing is more important than the safety of our children.”
In May 2013, a 10-year-old girl reported that she had been assaulted by the defendant, the District Attorney’s Office said. Mitchell was interviewed by both Pennsylvania State Police and Chester County Detectives, and admitted not only to assaulting the girl, but also to the assault of another child, the District Attorney’s Office said.
Mitchell was terminated from his position at the prison following the first report and his subsequent arrest.
The confessions spawned a major investigation by Pennsylvania State Police and Chester County Detectives, who learned that Mitchell had been a foster parent to more than 50 children in the 1980s and ’90s. Additional victims began coming forward, the District Attorney’s Office said.
Mitchell pleaded guilty last week to the assault of five children who had been in his care. There were other victims, the District Attorney’s Office said, but those cases were outside the statute of limitations.
Mitchell pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated indecent assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault, corruption of minors and endangering the welfare of children.
The main investigators on the case were Pennsylvania State Police Trooper David Brodeur and Chester County Detective James Ciliberto, the District Attorney’s Office said. Deputy District Attorney Deb Ryan was the case’s prosecutor, and Mitchell was sentenced by the Honorable David Bortner.
Mitchell was sentenced to 20 to 40 years in state prison. “The defendant will spend the rest of his life in prison and the rest of eternity in hell,” Hogan said. “He stole the innocence and youth of these children. No punishment is severe enough for this conduct.”