October 23, 2008

Leslie Lynch arrested for alleged molestations

October 23, 2008

By Nate Poppino, Times-News writer

IDAHO -- A longtime Hagerman resident has been arrested and charged with molesting two young girls about 10 years ago, with more alleged victims possible, according to documents filed Tuesday in magistrate court in Gooding County.

Leslie Lynch, 69, has been charged with three counts of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child less than 16 years old, and one count of sexual abuse involving the same age group.

The lewd conduct charges each carry a maximum life sentence, while the sexual abuse charge has a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison. His arrest was the result of a joint investigation by the Gooding County sheriff's office and Hagerman police.

The charges stem from incidents in the summer of 1996 involving two girls, one 8 years old and her sister who was 11. Neither girl is related to Lynch, according to court documents. The Times-News does not publish the names of victims of sexual assault.

Lynch allegedly rubbed his body against the older girl's, had the younger one dance naked for him in his attic and had both girls touch his privates during a visit to a swimming hole near Hagerman.

The two victims mentioned in the charges may not be the only ones harmed, according to an affidavit filed by Gooding County Sheriff's Detective Gerlyn Walker. The document details alleged abuses to at least two more girls. All of the alleged victims said they were young and did not understand what was happening.

A third sister of the two mentioned in the charges said she recalled the abuse and was scared Lynch would stalk her if he found out where she now lives. A woman who alerted authorities to the possible abuse in 1996 said she herself was molested by Lynch in the late 1980s, and had another friend who hung out at Lynch's house. Both Walker and CARES, Children At Risk Evaluation Services, a child advocacy service, also interviewed a 6-year-old who said she was touched by and played a kissing game with Lynch earlier this summer.

None of the people Walker interviewed were able to identify photos of young children found during a search of Lynch's home in 1997. The pictures also seemed to be taken at the swimming hole, Walker wrote.

According to the affidavit, Lynch allegedly convinced the girls not to tell anyone about what he was doing by telling them he had killed someone once and buried them in a cement pit on his property. He allegedly offered them money several times, but then paid them less than promised or nothing at all.

It's not the first time Lynch has faced such charges. The county filed four charges of lewd conduct against him in 1997, but dismissed them before trial because their witnesses were too young to effectively testify, said Gooding County Sheriff Shaun Gough, the arresting officer on the first case.

The current charges are based around the same two girls, he said. And his deputies think they'll find more victims.

"We've been after him a long time," Gough said.

A quick search of state court records revealed several other cases involving Lynch. In 1998, he served six months' probation for accumulating junked vehicles on his property, violating a Hagerman city ordinance. In 2007, he was acquitted of a similar Gooding County charge. Also that year, the city again pressed charges over a zoning issue with Lynch's junkyard, but dismissed them when both sides reached an agreement.

Lynch is being held in the Gooding County Jail on a $500,000 bond. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Oct. 30.


1 comment:

Fred & Linda Kerpsie said...

We know this guy for many years & his brother Monty Ray Lynch live with us for 26yrs., untill his death recently. During that time, Monty revealed many Nasty things about his brother Leslie. It is quite possible that Leslie was involved in many old & assorted crimes.