Authorities in Arizona today released disturbing details of a lengthy investigation of a case in which a man allegedly married a 16-year-old and invited other grown men to his house to have sex with his teenage wife.
Donald Leacock, 51, was indicted by a Coconino County Grand Jury on 24 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor on March 13, 2008. The case currently is set for an August trial date.
Leacock remains jailed at the Coconino County Detention facility. It was unclear whether he had retained an attorney.
Officials from the Coconino County Sheriff's Office say that Leacock would set up "sex dates" with young female victims, including his 16-year-old wife, with "drivers and Internet acquaintances," according to an extensive sheriff's office release.
The police investigation began in late February, when Coconino deputies responded to a call in Ash Fork, Ariz., from a 14-year-old female who wanted authorities to watch over her as she moved out of Leacock's home.
The unidentified teen told deputies that Leacock had fondled her and taken nude photographs of her — as well as other underage girls — inside the home. One of the girls, she told deputies, was Leacock's underage wife.
"Further disclosure to the Sheriff's Office provided information that Leacock would reportedly take pictures and movies of his wife having intercourse with the older males before and after they were wed," according to the Coconino release, "and he would also post nude pictures of the girl on the Internet for the purpose of meeting new subjects to arrange meetings."
Upon further investigation, authorities say they discovered that Leacock had nude pictures of the 16-year-old when she was just 13. Witnesses later reported to police that Leacock may have had sex with the girl when she was 12.
The sheriff's office turned to the state's child protective services and the Safe Child Center of Northern Arizona, and Leacock's 16-year-old wife, who authorities say has lived in Ash Fork with Leacock since 2006, was removed from the house by sheriff's deputies.
Detectives then obtained several search warrants they used to seize computers and media storage devices. "The computers were forensically examined by the Coconino County Sheriff's Office and multiple still images and movies of suspected child pornography were found," according to the sheriff's release.
Leacock was arrested on March 1 and charged with 10 initial counts of sexual exploitation of a minor based on the recovered child pornography images, authorities said.
Inside Leacock's home, deputies found evidence that suggested "occupants of the home participated in master/slave relationships, with Leacock acting as the master to female slaves," the release states.
In addition to Leacock, one other suspect has been arrested in connection with the child sex crime investigation. Police have obtained an arrest warrant for a third man, a fourth suspect recently died, and they are working to identify others who may have been involved.
Gerry Blair, a spokesman for the Coconino County Sheriff's Office, declined to provide information beyond the department's release, but said that authorities have waited to announce details of the case because of how complicated the investigation has been.
Authorities will continue to look into whether other underage women were taken advantage of by Leacock's operation, he said. Additional charges could be brought by the county prosecutor's office.