Friday, November 18, 2011

Is Chris Leaf Credible?

One of the questions I have seen frequently is, "What about Tina's mom? Chuck Phelps said she is the one that made all the decisions." The question may be worded a bit differently, or it may just be a statement given in support of Charles "Chuck" Phelps.

Chuck Phelps has a website with some documents defending his decisions as a pastor purportedly provided by Chris Leaf (Tina's mother -- though I don't personally believe she deserves the title since she so frequently chose her own desires -- like keeping her convicted child abusing, registered child molester pervert of a husband who wasn't the biological father of her children in her life and house). The thing is -- the documents on Chuck Phelps' website were prepared for Chris by her attorney, David Gibbs III -- the same attorney that represented Phelps at the trial of Tina's rapist (the letter purported to be from Chris is on the letterhead of David Gibbs III). At the very least, it is safe to assume that the attorney had an interest in also protecting his client Chuck Phelps, and at the trial, Chris Leaf never would say on the stand who paid for David Gibbs III to represent her. Neither Chuck Phelps or Chris Leaf testified if the documents prepared for them by their attorney were prepared in collusion with each other.

In the interest of shedding more light on Chris Leaf, I am posting below, with her permission, a guest post from Beth Murschell.

Laurie Moody

Tina's Mom and Credibility    By: Beth Murschell
I've wanted to address this issue, and a Facebook comment (reprinted with permission) covers most of the bases so I'm posting it here (with the caveat from the poster that it is "speaking from my recollection and not from a side-by-side comparison of facts and testimony" and open to correction):
Tina's "mother" has a lot of credibility issues. 
She is married to a man she knew was abusing her young children physically, a man who also sexually molested Tina. 
This man is now a convicted sex offender for having molested another little girl. 
Tina's mother even sent her children to live with their aunt for a time before Daniel Leaf, her husband, went to prison, because she was afraid of losing custody if child welfare authorities investigated their home life. There are others who testified to the fact that Tina and her brother were not properly cared for in their home as children (dirty clothes, untidy appearance), as well. 
So to take the word of this woman, who has a degree in criminal justice, by the way, over her daughter's sworn testimony and not to question either her veracity or her motives is, how to put it delicately, foolish. Her judgment is highly questionable. 
Furthermore, it doesn't matter whose "idea" it was to ship Tina to Colorado to have her baby - yes, long ago, this was the way things were done to avoid family shame - the facts are that Mr. Phelps, Mrs. Leaf and Mr. Willis conspired, collaborated if you'd rather, to send Tina far away from the police who were investigating the case. This was quite probably illegal, since it prevented the ongoing police investigation. In some states, at least, it amounts to sex trafficking, since Tina was shipped away for the explicit reason to bring her child to term. 
Mr. Phelps's public statements before the trial stand in direct conflict with key parts of his testimony at the trial. That he was involved very deeply in covering up this crime and attempting to intimidate the victim into silence last year in the months leading up to the trial by repeatedly and very publicly calling her a "liar" and characterizing the situation (against his sworn testimony) as an "on-going dating relationship with an older man" is beyond the pale. This is not just poor judgment. It is lying and obstruction of justice. 
Since Mr. Phelps fought so very hard to prevent his notes, which had been turned over to the prosecutor without his knowledge, from being admitted into evidence, I firmly believe that he had intended to give false testimony on the stand until he was forced to testify from his notes. There is no veracity left to his claims when you read the reports from the trial. The trial transcript will be available shortly, and we will have the full evidence plainly available for all to see.
 By the way, Phelps's testimony revealed that he knew that Tina was raped twice and that the first incident occurred when she was fifteen.
My own impressions of Ms. Leaf (based on observing that week at the trial and at the hotel where all of us stayed--quite bizarre, really and another whole story):
  • She seems both weak-minded and stubborn. Whiny and inconsistent and very dependent on the approval of authority figures. She chose Phelps and her child-abusing/molesting husband over her children. Completely lacked any coherence as a witness. Nauseating to even watch on the stand. Toxic and unloving.
  • I pity her, but I cannot excuse her. And I cannot let BJU throw her words around as if they meant something. Because her actions speak WAYYYYY louder than her words.
  • I think some people believe her words as recorded by Phelps' website because on the movie screen of their minds they're picturing, I don't know, a regular mom?  The kind who gives out hugs and exudes acceptance and warmth and would do anything to protect her child?
Lose that image immediately.
As for Tina, my heart shattered as I listened to this woman utter her outrageous statements in court. I wish I had words powerful enough to convey the horror.
I love you, Tina. I hope you can sense the love of a mother as you are with your kids, feeling their love. And from God himself, who holds you close in the way you never received when you SHOULD HAVE. 

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