ST. GEORGE — A Las Vegas woman is in custody in Washington County facing child abuse charges after allegedly witnessing the sexual abuse of her children and not reporting it to police.
Alisha Dianne Leavitt, 36, was booked into jail Tuesday on two second-degree felony counts of child abuse — a warrant for her arrest on the charges was originally issued in July 2018. She was transported from Las Vegas, Nevada, to Purgatory Correctional Facility in Hurricane to face the charges in Southern Utah, St. George Police officer Tiffany Atkin said.
The arrest stems from an investigation that began in November 2017 in Nevada, after police were contacted by a school counselor reporting possible sexual abuse of a 15-year-old.
During a followup on the report, the Nevada detective assigned to the case learned there were at least two additional children involved. Investigators contacted the St. George Police Department after discovering the abuse took place in St. George.
Three children, ages 12, 13 and 15, were interviewed at the Children’s Justice Center where they disclosed numerous incidents of sexual abuse perpetrated by 40-year-old James Michael Leavitt. According to the affidavit filed in support of her arrest, Alisha Leavitt, the children’s mother, “knew and had witnessed the offenses.”
In December 2017, police conducted a telephone interview with Alisha Leavitt, who reportedly admitted that two of the children told her of the abuse, at which point she confronted the suspect who told her “he would commit suicide” if she called authorities.
Alisha Leavitt also admitted to being present during two separate incidents when two of the children were being sexually abused and said she “never called police to report the abuse,” investigators wrote in the affidavit.
James Leavitt “admitted to sodomizing two of the girls,” according to charging documents, which note that the abuse had gone on for more than six years. In November 2017, he was arrested and charged with four counts of first-degree felony sexual abuse of a child.
He was also charged with four third-degree felony counts of dealing in material harmful to a minor after he admitted to showing videos depicting deviant sexual behavior, including bestiality, to three children between the ages of 9 and 15.
He pleaded guilty to all of the charges in April 2018 and was sentenced to serve no less than 10 years to life in prison on each count of sexual abuse and 0-5 years on each of the lesser counts. The sentences were ordered to be served concurrently. He is currently serving his sentence in the Utah State Prison in Salt Lake County.
Alisha Leavitt is scheduled to make an initial appearance in 5th District Court Tuesday and is being held on $5,000 bail. The victims of the abuse are currently living outside of Utah.
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