Saturday, April 27, 2002
Leyva will reside in the
Convicted molester returning next
It is unclear when the public will learn Tony Leyva's address
through the state police registry.
By LAURENCE HAMMACK
THE ROANOKE TIMES
Leyva, a traveling preacher who came to Roanoke years ago to molest
young boys drawn to his tent revivals, is scheduled to return next
week - this time on parole.
After staying in federal and state prisons for
as long as authorities could possibly keep him, Leyva will be
released Tuesday from the Brunswick Correctional Center, according
to David Harker, vice chairman of the state parole board.
Harker said Leyva "will be residing in the
Roanoke area," but declined to say exactly where.
"He will be under the strictest of
supervision," Harker said.
Leyva was convicted in 1988 of transporting
minors across state lines for prostitution - charges that stemmed
from providing food, money and travel in exchange for sex with young
boys he met at his tent revivals. He admitted to molesting more than
100 boys in what was then called the largest case of child
prostitution in U.S. history.
The self-ordained minister received 20 years
from a federal judge and another 2 1/2 years from a Roanoke County
jury that convicted him of performing oral sex on two boys in motel
rooms during a swing through the region.
Both sentences were imposed before parole was
abolished. As a result, Leyva will go free Tuesday after serving
about half his term. But if he commits new crimes or violates the
terms of his parole, he could be ordered to serve the remainder of
Leyva, 55, will be placed on intensive
supervision for the next five years. While under the watch of state
and federal probation officers, he will be required to receive
treatment for sex offenders.
He will not be allowed to hold a job that
involves contact with minors, nor will he be allowed to have
unsupervised contact with them under any circumstances. A home
electronic monitoring system will be used to track his movements.
Pedophiles have a high risk of recidivism, and
prosecutors have said Leyva's case is especially troubling.
He has not responded well to treatment while
in prison, and has expressed a desire to return to preaching,
according to Mike Echols, a California child advocate who wrote a
book on the case, "Brother Tony's Boys."
Leyva's narcissistic personality allowed him
to rationalize sexual abuse as a way of providing God's love to
young boys, Echols said.
"I consider him to be unrepentant," Echols
said. "The vision he has had is God is going to put him back to work
preaching to young boys."
"This is what makes him doubly dangerous. He
is still deluded by him being a prophet, but a prophet he is not."
Harker said it is standard policy for the
parole board not to provide the addresses of newly released inmates.
However, Leyva will be required to give his address to state police,
who will post it on the state's sex offender registry at
Leyva's lawyer, Daniel Crandall of Roanoke,
did not return several calls to his office over the past week.
Crandall has said in the past that he was reluctant to say where
Leyva might live because of concerns about his personal safety. Some
of Leyva's victims still live in the area and might try to seek
revenge on their abuser, Echols has said.
It was not clear Friday how soon the public
will be able to learn of Leyva's whereabouts through the state
"I don't want to see him lynched, but at the
same time, I think the public has a right to know where he is," said
Jennie Waering, an assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted Leyva.
Earlier this year, Leyva had a mandatory
release date set for Feb. 3. But the parole board delayed his
release in order for Leyva to come up with a better plan for
re-entering society. Leyva had expressed an interest in going to
Puerto Rico. After that fell through, probation officers were
checking with homeless shelters in Roanoke to see if they could take
him in if needed.
In January, Crandall said Leyva was exploring
options that included living in another state or country. But until
such a plan is approved by the parole board, Leyva is required to
return to the locality where he was convicted for parole
Assuming that Leyva follows his orders, one of
his first stops next week will be to the federal and state probation
offices in Roanoke.