By COLIN KYLER
A Russell man was sentenced to state prison for concealment-related offenses during Warren County court proceedings Friday.
Judge Gregory Hammond handed down a sentence in the aggravated range for Robert William Leathers, 62, 521 Cable Hollow Rd. of 12 months to 24 months in a state correctional institution for two counts of concealment of whereabouts of a child.
Leathers was also sentenced to three years of probation, $2,000 in fines and fees, undergo sexual offenders counseling and have no contact with the victims.
Defense Attorney Bruce Sandmeyer noted Hammond had been involved with his client's prior case and is aware of his mental health issues. Leathers has been seeking help through Veterans Affairs, he said, as well as Beacon Light.
"His problems started when he came back from Vietnam," Sandmeyer said. "They have persisted to this day."
In addition, Sandmeyer said his client also suffers from physical issues including a hernia which will require surgery in the near future. However, he noted Leathers has family support and people behind him.
Leathers has been incarcerated since July 2011, Sandmeyer said, and still has a lengthy way to go. His client has had no issues in jail, he said, and he asked for a concurrent sentence.
Assistant District Attorney Barry Klenowski said he did not know where to begin with the case. Since Sandmeyer did not go into the facts of the case, he said he would.
Following an indecent assault conviction last year, Klenowski said Leathers continued to have contact with the victim despite a no contact order pending. The defendant brought the two victims to his house, he said, and lied to the police and parents about it.
When the victims were found, Klenowski said they were shirtless and shoeless in the defendant's backyard. If Leathers is in the same area code as they are, he said they will be in danger.
According to Leathers, he was not the one to contact the young men. One was at his mother's house, he said, and he showed him the no contact order and explained he could get into trouble.
Out of guilt, Leathers said he continued having contact with the victim. However, he said he told him back in 2009 they could never have sexual contact again.
"I felt bad about what happened," Leathers said.
The parents of the victims never contacted him on the day in question, Leathers said, and his first contact with anyone was with the police. On that morning, he said he had met with the probation department.
Hammond said the department's report stated Leathers was asked if he had been in contact with his victim. However, he indicated he had not.
"You're a predator," Hammond said. "You cannot control your impulses."
Until he addresses his issues, Hammond said Leathers presents a danger to any young male who crosses his path.