COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - A Colorado Springs minister pleaded guilty Tuesday to sex assault on a child.
Romello Leach, 22, was arrested the day before Thanksgiving following a months-long investigation launched after someone came forward and alleged the pastor had sexually abused a child. Arrest papers obtained by 11 News in November state that person was an employee at the Colorado Springs Pregnancy Center, where the young teen was taken after her mother noticed she had "a larger belly."
Detectives say they fear Leach could have more victims.
Leach served as a minister for several churches, all of which meet at the Satellite Hotel off Airport and Academy in the Springs.
So far, just the one alleged victim has been identified, a sheriff's office spokesperson told 11 News, but due to how prolific Leach was in the church community, there is a troubling potential for more.
"He had access to so many given his position and the number of churches he was involved in," said EPSO spokesperson Jacqueline Kirby.
As a parent herself, Kirby said it's especially difficult grappling with children being preyed upon in what should be a safe space.
"It's very disheartening; as a parent, I'll tell you, you go to church and you would think that's one of the places you're safe from predators ... unfortunately, we've seen that that's not the case."
Leach allegedly admitted to impregnating a 14-year-old in a telephone conversation with his ex-wife that El Paso County sheriff's deputies recorded. The arrest affidavit details that conversation, in which the former wife asked her one-time husband, "So you didn't sleep with that girl and get her pregnant?" to which Leach allegedly replied that "it happened."
At his arraignment Tuesday, the district attorney's office announced DNA testing showed the child was not Leach's.
Leach later acknowledged he knew the girl's parents, according to the affidavit, stated he had made a mistake, and allegedly said it was "not like he will go around and sleep with everybody's 13 or 14-year-old daughter."
Kirby implored anyone who thinks they might be a victim to contact the sheriff's office.
"If there is anybody out there who feels they have been victimized or their children have been victimized, please give us a call," Kirby said.
That number is 719-520-6666.
Leach's sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 17. He faces 10 years to life of sex offender probation.