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Posted on Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 4:52 p.m.

Man sentenced to prison for sexually assaulting teen: 'I am not the monster they say I am'

By Kyle Feldscher

Leonardo Devinci Christian said Tuesday he made some bad choices but is not the monster people think he is after he pleaded guilty last month to sexually assaulting a teenager.


Leonardo Christian

Courtesy of WCSO

Christian was sentenced to between three and 15 years in prison for second-degree criminal sexual conduct, a charge he pleaded guilty to in December. While sobbing in court Tuesday, Christian told Washtenaw County Trial Court Judge Donald Shelton he’d been sexually assaulted from age 3 to age 14 and tried to deal with it by helping others.

“I vowed I would never let this happen but somehow I did,” he said.

At other times in the hearing, Christian lashed out at the media who reported on the case, almost yelling, “I am not the person I was made out to be in the media,” and “I am not that person.”

Eventually, he was led off to prison by Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office deputies to begin serving his sentence.

He also pleaded guilty to sexual penetration by a person with HIV/AIDS on an uninformed partner; Shelton sentenced him to 23 months to six years in prison on that charge. In December, Christian took a plea deal that resulted in 15 other criminal charges brought against him by Washtenaw County prosecutors being dropped.

The dropped charges included two counts of criminal sexual conduct assault with intent to sexual penetration, six counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, three counts of sexual penetration by a person with AIDS/HIV on an uninformed partner, two counts of accosting children for immoral purposes and two counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct. Those charges were dismissed Tuesday.

Four different teenagers alleged Christian sexually assaulted them. Christian pleaded guilty to crimes involving two of the teenagers and the cases involving the other teens were dismissed.

The first boy who accused Christian of assaulting him said Christian gave him and his family tickets to an annual holiday meal Christian organized at Korey’s Krispy Krunchy Chicken and Coops Charity Poker Room in Ypsilanti.

In addition to his charity work, Christian was known as a frequent observer at Ypsilanti City Council meetings, often taping them.

Christian did not delve into his history of being sexually abused, other than saying he never got counseling because it was not available when he was a child.

“I never dealt with the abuse and my way of dealing with it was doing something for someone else,” he said.

Christian received credit for spending 159 days in the Washtenaw County Jail since he was charged on Aug. 31 in the initial case. He’s been held in the jail on a $100,000 bond since December, after originally being given a $50,000 bond in August.

Despite Christian’s insistence that he’s not a “monster” and he was unfairly portrayed in the media, Shelton had these words for him before handing down his sentence.

“We are responsible for what we do. As for who and what we are, we are not necessarily what we say we are or what we think we are,” Shelton said. “We are what we do. What you did deserves this sentence.”

Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Mon, Feb 4, 2013 : 4:46 a.m.

Raping children and possibly spreading HIV is an outrageously selfish, perverted, despicable act, not a bad choice. A bad choice is buying a car that turns out to be a lemon, or ordering something from the menu that isn't any good, or parking in a no parking zone.


Mon, Feb 4, 2013 : 4:24 a.m.

Why did they drop 15 charges?! This guy should be behind bars for a long long time so he can't hurt anyone else.


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 7:07 p.m.

I have never been able to understand plea bargaining. The charges that were dismissed are horrendous. This man is unfortunately damaged for life. I'm a mental health professional and as far as I'm aware, there is no way to rehabilitate people who sexually abuse children. Sadly, many pedophiles were sexually abused as children but that's no reason to allow them to abuse children themselves. They need to be confined or they will continue to sexually abuse children. Our concern needs to be for the victims of pedophilia who are severely traumatized and quite likely to end up sexually abusing children themselves. It's an horrific cycle and I hope we can someday find a way to break it. But until then, protection of children must be our primary goal.


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 3:36 p.m.

Fail...They are going to eat him alive in prison.


Wed, Jan 30, 2013 : 3:49 p.m.

"I vowed I would never let this happen but somehow I did," he said. This despicable person didn't just "let something happen". He was an active perpetrator who should spend the rest of his days behind bars. If you ask me, the sentence was way too light for someone who still can't even admit that he did something monstrous. I wonder if he was blubbering in court for his victims, or for himself and the fate that will probably be awaiting him at his new residence.

music to my ear

Wed, Jan 30, 2013 : 6:50 p.m.

He meant. I vowed I would never get caught. but somehow he did Praise the lord,

Silly Sally

Wed, Jan 30, 2013 : 1:18 p.m.

Focusing just on the "having sex with an unknowing partner"< I am amazed at the brievity of the sentence for such a horrible deed. AIDS once was a death sentence and still is very, very bad. All it is worht is a couple of years?

music to my ear

Wed, Jan 30, 2013 : 6:51 p.m.

our laws suck.


Wed, Jan 30, 2013 : 10:42 a.m.

"...says he made some bad choices ".........Who invented this phrase and said it was ok to use it as an excuse for any kind of behavior? I suspect social workers did. I, for one, am tired of hearing it and reading it constantly. Bring back personal responsibility and the ability to judge people for their acts and act accordingly.


Mon, Feb 4, 2013 : 6:15 p.m.

Vivian I believe you are referring to a couple of comments I made about the new ratings system developed by some organization that measured a schools's actual performance vs predicted performance, and labelled it a 'value added measure'; which it doesn't appear to be. I cannot recall who the authors of this were, but I do not believe it had any direct connection to any local school district; although the article cited some local schools' ratings under this system. Yes, a good example of using an established phrase and applying it - wrongly - to something else.


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 2:29 p.m.

A follow-on to my last response to ThinkingOne: wasn't it you who pointed out that some of the language used by Superintendent Green ('value-added,' I think it was) appeared to be misleading and deflected the discussion from the actual matter at hand? If so, we're definitely on the same page in some ways--we seem to agree that people who are making public statements ought to use words with full awareness of (and due deference to) their established meaning.


Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 10:36 p.m.

And thanks for your response, too, ThinkingOne. I agree that we have common ground. It's all too easy to lose sight of that in exchanges on this site, alas. Thanks for reminding me of it.


Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 6:17 p.m.

Vivian Thank you for coming back. Just to be clear, I was speaking to justcurious. After re-reading your previous comment, I think you and I have some common ground on this - based on your opening paragraph. While you and I may never know exactly what the defendant meant when he said this, you allow for the fact that the words can indeed be used as a sincere acknowledgment of fault. Justcurious seems to be saying that the words somehow imply trying to deflect fault. A problem with the whole scenario is that we do not get any detail in this story that tells us exactly what phrasing he used. And of course, even if we did get a quote it would not have any of the spoken nuances that help people determine the sincerity of the statement. My point was that on face value alone this is not a blame-sifting statement, but an admission of guilt. Without actually hearing exactly what was said and how it was said, I do not see how justcurious can be so certain it is a lie, or an attempt to shift blame. Thanks for adding to the discussion.


Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 11:43 a.m.

Thinking One, I concede some of your points, but you slightly mistook what I said. I didn't say that people who say 'I made a bad choice' are excusing themselves (or that others who say it on their behalf are excusing the behavior). I said that the form of the utterance seems to minimize the badness of the action. That's a little different. And I wasn't blaming social workers, though I was including them, as a group, among those who are inclined to couch unpleasant facts in euphemistic or deceptive social-science language. It wasn't meant to be my strongest point (all of that was phrased in hypotheticals), but I do stand by it, conceding again that it's a broad generalization.


Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 4:31 p.m.

No I still think I am right on this one. The phrase is I MADE bad choices. It is kind of irrelevant what other say.If you don't kike how others use it, get on them about it. He did not say STUFF HAPPENS. That definitely implies it was something beyond control. 'It wasn't him, it was those nasty "bad choices" in his head.' This implies a similarity to the phrase 'voices in my head told me to'. This also is not what he said. He said he MADE bad choices. Again, there were choices to make and HE made the wrong ones. Just because he did not articulate every single decision he made that was bad does not change the fact that he admits that CHOICES were made, HE made them, and the results were BAD. Not articulating to a detail that you desire does not mean he is foisting blame elsewhere. Reverse it, if you will. Say someone won an award for something - something positive. Suppose this person said 'I made some good choices along the way', would you say that this person is not taking credit? Or would you think that probably a lot of good choices were made and s/he just didn't want to detail every single one?


Wed, Jan 30, 2013 : 6:34 p.m.

Just Google "bad choices" and see what you come up with....note who says it and who they say it's very popular to blame everything one does on "bad choices" like this man did. It wasn't him, it was those nasty "bad choices" in his head.


Wed, Jan 30, 2013 : 4:11 p.m.

I am not sure how saying I MADE BAD CHOICES is an excuse. Doesn't an excuse try to explain away a problem? I MADE BAD CHOICES explains away nothing. How is this really different than saying: I LOST MY TEMPER I AM ABUSING DRUGS I WENT HOME AND GOT A GUN Just because the specific choice isn't indicated doesn't mean it isn't a valid acceptance that the blame belongs on the doer. Pleas also note that the phrase begins with 'I' as in I MADE THE CHOICE AND IT WAS A BAD ONE How exactly is that not personal responsibility? I am not saying that every time someone says this they are sincere. No one can say that about any sentence ever used. But to brush off the phrase as an excuse for any kind of behavior seems incorrect. It seems more of a general acceptance of blame without having to actually detail it. Nice touch also blaming social workers for no apparent reason.


Wed, Jan 30, 2013 : 12:39 p.m.

I agree with you about the glib use of this line by people who want to minimize the badness of their own (or a client's) behavior. It could (emphasis here on 'could') be an appropriate and meaningful statement if listeners really heard and thought about the words and the assertion they make: i.e., I (no one else--not society, not my parents, not somebody who mistreated me, but I myself) made some bad (not unfortunate, not suboptimal, not honestly mistaken, but bad, even vicious or wicked) choices (that's CHOICES regarding my actions: freely chosen & freely undertaken courses of action, under no compulsion, in a situation when I could have chosen or undertaken other other actions). Of course, if a person who would try to justify really rotten behavior recognized that he were making this assertion, he'd probably find some other weasel words to absolve himself with. And unfortunately, there'd probably be plenty of good-intentioned but naive people (or unscrupulous attorneys) who'd help him find them. We could approach a lot of our social problems a LOT more effectively if we'd just speak plainly and honestly and ditch the pseudo-psychological language that so often obscures simple truths. That's not to say that we couldn't recognize complexities and make sophisticated judgments about human behavior, with sensitivity and appropriate compassion, but we need to start by identifying what we're dealing with. Assuming that the conviction is valid, this man, knowing that he had AIDS, raped a boy under his supervision. Choices? CHOICES? Was violating a teenager just one of several morally equivalent options? Come on. Justcurious is dead on with his or reaction.


Wed, Jan 30, 2013 : 4:48 a.m.

Don't worry Mr Christian, the ACLU has your back.


Wed, Jan 30, 2013 : 6:28 p.m.



Wed, Jan 30, 2013 : 3:52 a.m.

I am not an elephant, I am a maaaaan!

Dog Guy

Wed, Jan 30, 2013 : 12:23 a.m.

It was some other monster with the same name and address.

An Arborigine

Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 10:22 p.m.

No, he's actually a Saint of a man, always tried to help people. Give us a break Leonardo!


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 10:10 p.m.

Oh sure. Blame the media. Three years is not enough. Despicable.