#childmolestor | Minot man charged with sexual assaults a ‘serial child molester,’ say prosecutors

Mar. 2—LEWISTON — A Minot man characterized as a “serial child molester” by prosecutors is facing charges of sexually assaulting two girls and possibly more charges involving more girls.

Ralph Leach, 65, was in court last week after he was arrested on two warrants, Assistant District Attorney Andrew Matulis told a judge Friday.

Leach is charged with gross sexual assault, a felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison, and unlawful sexual contact, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison, stemming from an incident on Feb. 21, Matulis said.

A 12-year-old girl said she had been watching a movie with Leach and fell asleep. When she woke up, her pants had been pulled down and Leach was sexually abusing her, Matulis said.

The frightened girl told her grandmother, who confronted Leach. Leach admitted to abusing the girl with his hands and mouth.

The next day, Leach told his son he had molested the girl, Matulis said. Leach confessed to authorities at the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office in Auburn to “digital penetration” of the girl for 15 minutes and said she had wanted him to do that to her, Matulis said.

A couple of days after the incident, Leach had asked his son to give his guns back to him.

In a second warrant, Leach is charged with unlawful sexual contact with a 3-year-old girl in the spring of 2020 and again Feb. 14, when the girl was 4 years old.

Leach admitted he had used the girl’s hand to masturbate himself while she was asleep, Matulis said.

“It happened a couple different times,” Matulis said.

As authorities continued interviewing Leach, he confessed to having sexually assaulted several different children, Matulis said.

Leach said he’d molested the 12-year-old girl on three occasions and the 3-year-old, twice.

He said he’d touched a 9-year-old girl inappropriately by rubbing her belly and buttocks.

“He says that went on for about a year and it included sexual abuse while she was sleeping,” Matulis said.

Another girl said Leach forced her to perform oral sex on him about nine years ago. When investigators asked him about it, Leach said he, “may have done something close to her mouth,” Matulis said.

He said he had taken out his penis to see what she would do with it and he admitted to having touched her buttocks, Matulis said.

There was another child whose hand Leach said he had used to masturbate himself while she was sleeping on three occasions, according to Matulis.

During an interview with authorities, Leach had referenced other possible victims, Matulis said.

In arguing for high cash bail, Matulis had called Leach a “serial child molester.”

A judge in 8th District Court set bail Friday at $200,000 cash or $50,000 cash with supervised release, saying Leach posed a significant danger to the public, especially to children.

If he is freed from Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn, Leach must remain on house arrest, have no contact with anyone younger than 18, and he may not have any firearms, a condition requested by Matulis, who said there were concerns Leach might try to harm himself.

The judge also prohibited Leach from having any contact with the mother of the 12-year-old girl.

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