A former Fox News reporter from New Jersey was convicted of sexually assaulting a 4-year-old girl at his home between 2009 and 2010. He was also found guilty of aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, child endangerment, possession of child pornography and tampering with evidence. He has yet to be sentenced.
"Tell the kids I love them, Monica," Charles Leaf yelled to his wife before being removed from the courtroom in Bergen County.
Leaf had been found guilty after a jury deliberated for a little over five hours. The case was excruciating for jurors. The victim, now 8, was the first to testify in Leaf's trial. She told the jury that her allegations of molestation were made up and told to her by her nanny. A jury did find him guilty, though, and Leaf's own sister thinks that the jury made the right decision.
"I want my brother fried," Susan Gaudet, Leaf's sister, told the New York Daily News. "He needs to be locked away. It's been 30 years of heartache and trauma for our family and he needs to pay. He's a sick, sociopathic pedophile. He's manipulative and cunning when it comes to everyone he encounters."
Leaf and his wife maintained that he was innocent of all charges and that he was being set up by their nanny, Weronika. The victim told the court that Weronika had threatened her brother and made them clean the house as well as told her what to say to police.
Leaf turned down a plea deal that would have sentenced the maximum time at eight years in prison. It's unknown how long he will serve, but his request for bail while awaiting sentencing was denied. Leaf will remain behind bars until June 6, when he learns his fate.
"It was a long process to get through this trial," Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Kenneth Ralph told the Cliffview Pilot. "The state's evidence was thoroughly reviewed and tested. We appreciate the time and effort the jury put in at arriving at this fair and just verdict."