Woman pleads guilty to felony charges for witnessing, not reporting sex abuse of young children

Composite image with background photo of , 5th District Court in St. George, Utah, August 2019. Inset photo of Alisha Dianne Leavitt, 37, of Las Vegas, Nev., booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, Sept. 17, 2018 | Background photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A Las Vegas woman pleaded guilty to felony child abuse during a hearing held in 5th District Court after witnessing the sexual abuse of her two children and not reporting it to police.

Alisha Dianne Leavitt, 37, of Las Vegas, Nev., booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, Sept. 17, 2018 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s, St. George News

Alisha Dianne Leavitt, 37, was originally charged with two counts of child abuse – inflict serious injury intentionally, in July 2018. Under the terms of the plea agreement, the state agreed to drop one of the charges and the remaining charge was reduced from a second-degree felony to third-degree felony of child abuse in exchange for a guilty plea.

During Tuesday’s hearing, District Judge Eric A. Ludlow ordered a presentence investigation be conducted examining the defendant’s background, any criminal history and other factors. The report from that investigation will influence the sentence Ludlow hands down.

The sentencing is scheduled for April 7, at 2 p.m.

Leavitt was arrested and booked into jail Sept. 19 on a warrant issued on the charges on July 2018 by police in Las Vegas. She was then transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility in Hurricane to face the charges in Southern Utah and was released from jail Oct. 1.

James Michael Leavitt, 40, is an inmate at Utah State Prison in Draper, Utah, May, 2018 | photo courtesy of the Utah Department of Corrections, St. George News

According to information obtained during the investigation, Leavitt “knew and witnesses the offenses,” the detective noted in an affidavit. The defendant allegedly admitted to witnessing the sexual abuse of the children on four separate occasions. She also told police that when she confronted her husband about the abuse, he threatened to commit suicide, “so she did not call the police,” the officer noted in the statement.

By her own admission, the officer said, she knew about the abuse and failed to take any actions to protect the children from it. So the child abuse charges were filed against her for failing to protect the children in her custody.

In November 2017, 41-year-old James Michael Leavitt was charged with 10 first-degree felony counts of sexual abuse of a child for admittedly sexually abusing two young girls under the age of 10. In April the following year, he pleaded guilty to four of the charges, and the state agreed to drop the remaining charges in exchange for the plea. He also pleaded guilty to two third-degree felony counts of dealing in materials harmful to a minor.

He was sentenced during a hearing at the 5th District Court in May 2018 to serve 10 years to life in Utah State Prison on each first-degree felony count and 0-5 years in prison on each third-degree felony count that would run concurrently.

Caseworkers in Nevada are involved and the children have been removed from the home for their safety, Washington County Prosecutor Zachary Weiland told St. George News after Tuesday’s hearing.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!