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Survivor of Fatal 2-Day Beating in NY Church Says He Confessed to Molesting Sister's Children Before Attack

Survivor of Fatal 2-Day Beating in NY Church Says He Confessed to Molesting Sister's Children Before Attack

Bruce Leonard, Deborah Leonard, Sarah Ferguson (top L-R), Joseph Irwin, Linda Morey, and David Morey (bottom L-R) are pictured in this combination of undated handout booking photos provided by the New Hartford Police Department. Bruce and Deborah Leonard were charged with manslaughter in the death of their 19-year-old son after allegedly beating him for hours during a family counseling session inside the "sanctuary room" of an upstate Christian church, in New York, police said on October 14, 2015. | (Photo: Reuters/New Hartford Police Department/Handout via Reuters

After 18-year-old Christopher Leonard survived a brutal beating last October inside one of the most unlikely of places, a church, the teenager testified in court that he "inappropriately" touched his step-sister's children.

On Tuesday, Leonard admitted to the molestation, according to CNN. He said it was during a church counseling session last October that he told Ferguson what he had done to her children in graphic detail.

In an alleged attempt to get their sons to confess sins and repent during the session, Bruce and Deborah Leonard, among six others at Word of Life Christian Center Church, located 250 miles north of of New York City, brutally beat the two young men, resulting in the death of Christopher Leonard's brother, Lucas.

It's speculated that Lucas' desire to leave the group led to the brutal beating, according to New Hartford Police Chief Michael Inserra.

Bruce Leonard, the boys' father, plead guilty last Wednesday to having particpated in the beatings, explaining how he had whipped his sons using an electrical cord during an assault that spanned two days. For 14 hours the boys had been battered in their chest and genitals, and Lucas Leonard's body had been so badly damaged that hospital staff initially thought the teen had been shot, according to CBS News. In December of last year, Leonard's wife, Deborah, also plead guilty to assault.

Bruce Leonard must testify against seven defendants, including his step-daughter and the church's leaders, who are awaiting trial regarding the session that claimed the life of Lucas Leonard and injured 18-year-old Christopher Leonard last October.

On one of the days of the beatings, witness Daniel Irwin said Word of Life Christian Center Church's Sunday service was attended by 30 people. After Monday's "counseling" session concluded at 10 a.m., Irwin heard someone say, "Lucas is dead." Irwin went to the sanctuary where he saw his mother performing CPR on Lucas Leonard.

Follow me on Twitter: @kevindonporter


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