Woodland police want public's help finding possible sex abuse victims

Woodland police want public's help finding possible sex abuse victims
Robert Leonard.

WOODLAND, Wash. – Police in Woodland are asking the public for help in identifying two boys who they say may have been sexually abused by a school janitor.

Robert Leonard, 58, is in Cowlitz County Jail after being arrested on one count of communication with a minor for immoral purposes.

He was arrested Friday by Woodland Police following a two-week investigation that was sparked by a previous probe by Pennsylvania State Police.

"They got a call from the parents of a teenager who found texts and emails,” Woodland Sgt. Brad Gillaspie told KATU. “They put together a report that was sent to Vancouver Police and Vancouver Schools. They saw that he was a Woodland resident and passed it on to us.”

It turned out the teen – from Robertsdale, Pa. – told officers about having met Leonard on an online adult chat site. He admitted to having exchanged emails, texts and online messages. He also said that Leonard had told him about having had sexual relations with two teens from the Vancouver area, both starting when the teens were 13.

Gillaspie said that during the investigation they brought Leonard in for questioning and he admitted to the affairs but refused to disclose the names of the teens.

One boy would now be 18 or 19 years old and the other would now be 16 years old. Police said they believe both boys live or have lived in the Vancouver area.

Leonard – who had been working as a janitor for the Vancouver Public Schools – handed in his retirement papers on Thursday, Gillaspie said.

Leonard is due in court on Monday.

Police are trying to learn the identities of the two boys who may have been sexually abused by Leonard. They also said they want information on any other victims who may have been associated with Leonard.

Anyone with information about this is asked to call the Woodland Police Department.