Molest case suspect has court date

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By SCOTT PESZNECKER

A Sierra Conservation Center correctional officer who pleaded not guilty to four charges of child molestation and one charge of indecent exposure in September will have his preliminary court hearing at 3 p.m. Monday in Calaveras County Superior Court.

Neil Alden Leash, 46, is being held in the Calaveras County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail. He was arrested at his San Andreas apartment Sept. 17.

Leash and his attorney, Ken Foley, agreed in November to postpone the preliminary hearing until now.

Calaveras County District Attorney Jeff Tuttle said then that his office might bring more charges against Leash at the preliminary hearing.

Leash was arrested after Calaveras County sheriff's investigators found images of child and adult pornography on Leash's home computer and on 10 videotapes.

Some of the videotapes show Leash engaging in sexual activity with young girls, Calaveras County Sheriff's Capt. Michael Walker has said.

Walker also has said the girls shown appeared to be between 8 and 16 years old.

An officer with the state Department of Corrections since 1982, Leash has worked at the prison near Copperopolis since 1994.

Investigators learned of Leash's alleged activities after a victim in another county contacted authorities.

Leash has adult children who no longer live at home.

Contact Scott Pesznecker at spesznecker@uniondemocrat.com .

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