A 22-year-old minister in Colorado is accused of impregnating a teenage girl who gave birth to the baby in mid-September.
Romello Leach, of Colorado Springs, was arrested November 23 and charged with eight counts of sexual assault of a minor when being in a position of trust. Police say that Leach, who’s a registered minister, knew the family of the girl, who was 14-years-old at the time.
In recorded phone conversations, Leach admitted to being the father of the girl’s baby, police say. He’s being held on no bond and faces a life sentence if convicted of the charges.
Here’s what you need to know about Leach:
1. The Girl Didn’t Tell Anyone of Her Pregnancy Until Her Mother Noticed Her Belly Getting Larger
The arrest affidavit said that Leach and an unidentified girl had sex “at least twice” since late 2016. The girls told police that one of the times was in November 2016 and the other was in February or April of this year. Leach knew the girl’s parents from the church, documents state.
During one of their sexual interactions, Leach got the girl pregnant, and the affidavit stated that she didn’t tell anybody about her pregnancy until May, when her mother commented that she was showing “a larger belly,” The Denver Post reported. On May 17, the girl’s mother took her to a medical facility in Colorado Springs, where employees told the family she’d been impregnated by Leach. After the testing, the employee reported it to the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, and an investigation into the matter was launched.
The girl, who turned 15 two months prior, gave birth to their child on September 15. The El Paso County Sheriff’s office said in a news release that it’s looking for other people who may have been victimized by Leach in the past. Investigators said that Leach “has had access to an unknown number of children/teens” and are asking those who have had illicit contact with him in the past to come forward.
Those who have been victimized are asked to contact the El Paso County Sheriff’s Tip Line at 719-520-6666.
2. Leach Allegedly Admitted to Being the Father of the Girl’s Baby in Phone Conversations Recorded by Police
Police reportedly had a recorded phone conversation between Leach and his ex-wife, in which Leach admitted to having sex with the girl at least four times and said he was the father of the girl’s child.
“So you didn’t sleep with that girl and get her pregnant?” his ex-wife said during the conversation, The Gazette reported.
Leach allegedly replied to the question: “It happened.”
Then, his ex-wife asked him why he’d sleep with a minor and get her pregnant when he knows the family well. Documents say that Leach replied that he knew he made “the worst mistake” and promised for it not to happen again.
“It is not like (Leach) will go around and sleep with everybody’s 13 or 14-year-old daughter,” Leach said during the conversation, the affidavit said.
Leach had another conversation with an unidentified person on November 21. During it, Leach said that his “behavior was wrong,” adding that he was “full of lust” when the two had sex.
3. Leach Is Originally From South Carolina & His Facebook Said He Worked for the U.S. Army
Leach is originally from Charleston, South Carolina and graduated from West Ashley High School, social media accounts said. His LinkedIn profile indicates that he worked as a human resources assistant for the U.S. Army. A spokeswoman for Fort Carson told The Gazette that they had no record of him ever serving there.
Leach’s Facebook profile also says that he worked as an administrative assistant for a company based in Colorado Springs which specializes in teaching football coaches to “win more games and become a better coach.”
In addition, his Facebook said that he worked as a “kaleidoscope counselor” for the Charleston County School District.
4. Leach Served as a Minister for Several Churches in the Colorado Springs Area
When he moved to Colorado, Leach became involved with several churches in the Colorado Springs area. His alternate Facebook name refers to him as “Minister Romello Leach,” and he appears to have at least one daughter with another woman.
Leach worked as a minister for several churches which met regularly at the Satellite Hotel.
It’s just very disheartening and it’s very concerning,” said Jackie Kirby of the El Paso County Sheriff’s office. “You go to places and you’re there to learn and to grow and fellowship, and this kind of thing happens and it’s just tragic.”
5. Leach Is Awaiting a Hearing & Faces Life in Prison
Leach was arrested November 22 and booked in the El Paso County Jail. He now faces four counts of sexual assault by a person in a position of trust with someone under the age of 15 — felonies — and four counts of sexual assault by a person in a position of trust with someone between the ages of 15 and 18. Inmate records at the jail indicate that Leach is being held without bond and is awaiting his first court hearing December 4.
Leach faces a prison sentence of 8 years to life for each count if convicted. Colorado Springs Lawyer Ted McClintock wrote on his firm’s website that starting in 2013, “this offense also strips parent of nearly all rights if a child was conceived during the offense. If convicted, this charge requires lifetime registration as a sex offender.”