Ex-foster parent waives 2nd preliminary hearing

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He is accused of abusing total of  seven victims aged 3 to 10

By Kathleen Brady Shea, Managing Editor, The Times

Leroy K. Mitchell waived his preliminary hearing Monday on a second set of child-molestation charges.

Leroy K. Mitchell, 60, waived his preliminary hearing Monday on a second set of child-molestation charges.

For the second time in less than three months, a former coach, foster parent, and corrections officer waived his preliminary hearing on child-molestation charges on Monday.

Leroy K. Mitchell, 60, a former lieutenant at the Chester County Prison, is accused of abusing seven young victims. The first set of charges, alleging indecent contact with two girls ages 7 and 9 in his care, was filed in May; a second set, involving five male and female victims aged 3 to 10, was filed last month, court records said.

With five supporters in the courtroom, Mitchell appeared before Magisterial Senior Judge J. Peter Winther, who increased Mitchell’s bail from $150,000 to $500,000, citing the increased number of victims.

Assistant Public Defender David B. Miller, who is representing Mitchell, had no comment after the proceeding. Assistant District Attorney Deb Ryan said the investigation is continuing.

Mitchell and his wife, who have lived in Newlin and West Bradford Townships, were foster parents to over 50 children throughout the years, three of whom have been identified as victims, Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan has said.  Mitchell, whose alleged criminal conduct spans 40 years, also served as a girls’ softball coach for the Unionville Recreation Association (URA), Hogan said.

Hogan has said that the case is being investigated by the Pennsylvania State Police and Chester County Detectives. Anyone with information is asked to call Trooper David Brodeur at 610-486-6280 or Chester County Detective James Ciliberto at 610-344-6866.

Mitchell worked at Chester County Prison as a corrections officer for 22 years until the charges surfaced and he was immediately terminated, county officials said. According to county records, he was a foster parent with Chester County from 1989 to 1997.

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