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Concord judge delays conviction in church-linked molestation case



Last modified: Saturday, November 22, 2014
A former Concord man with ties to Trinity Baptist Church was found guilty yesterday of molesting his stepdaughter decades ago – but his conviction has been put on hold following a last-minute request to amend the charges.

Daniel Leaf, 55, of Tilton had been indicted in Merrimack County Superior Court on two counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault. His stepdaughter, Tina Anderson, claimed he began abusing her in 1990, when she was 9 years old.

On Wednesday, just before jurors went into deliberation, defense attorneys asked Judge Larry Smukler to dismiss the case, alleging that prosecutors had incorrectly charged Leaf with Class A felonies. The state responded by moving to amend the charges.

Smukler allowed jurors to go forward with deliberations, but has given Leaf’s attorneys until Dec. 15 to respond in writing to the county’s request. A hearing on it has been set for Jan. 12.

Prosecutor Wayne Coull could not be reached for comment yesterday afternoon. Jim Quay, one of Leaf’s public defenders, did not immediately return a request for comment.

Anderson disclosed the abuse in 2010 during a rape investigation involving a fellow congregant of the Concord church. Leaf was first tried in June, but that ended in a mistrial after Anderson testified to previously undisclosed details.

Coull argued Monday that Anderson had tried to come forward as a child, but had been directed by church leaders “essentially to shut up.” Defense attorneys countered that Leaf had no contact with Anderson during part of the two-year period when the offenses allegedly took place, and that she has previously denied the abuse ever occurred.

Leaf was arrested in 1991 and convicted of physically assaulting Anderson’s brother while disciplining him at their South Street home. Leaf was also convicted in 1993 of sexual assault and indecent exposure, and he is listed on the state’s sex offender registry.



(Jeremy Blackman can be reached at 369-3319, jblackman@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @JBlackmanCM.)