By Tom Mustin
JOHNSTOWN, Colo. (CBS4) – A Colorado couple convicted of child abuse has dodged another attempt to put them in jail.
In 2011, Winnie and Steve Leschinsky were sentenced to four years’ probation. Monday, despite the District Attorney’s pleas, a judge ruled the couple had upheld their probation requirements.
After the ruling, the three brave girls at the center of the case spoke to CBS4’s Tom Mustin.
“They humiliated us,” said the eldest sister, Oksanna Leschinsky.
The sisters told their horrifying story of abuse at the hands of their stepparents.
“We’ve always been told we lied about it. Who in their right minds would make this up?” Oksanna said.
Eleven years ago, then 6-year-old Sacha, 7-year-old Anya, and 9-year-old Oksanna were adopted from Russia by Johnstown couple Winnie and Steve Leschinsky.
What followed were years of abuse, including being forced to sleep for days in the dog house outside for failing to do homework, or doing 1200 pushups over a plank filled with nails for not chewing properly at the table.
“She put 2×4’s on the bottom of my feet and thighs with nails sticking out so I wouldn’t fall,” Anya said.
“I actually have scars. It’s hard doing 1200 pushups. Of course I fell.”
Sacha spent hours and nights in a kneeling position in a crawl space. The girls also had to run countless miles at night for allegedly lying. Oksanna nearly died after her mother attacked her for failing to do yard work correctly.
“Before I knew it she was on top of me, putting the hose in my mouth. I couldn’t breathe,” Oksanna told CBS4’s Tom Mustin through tears. “She almost drowned me.”
One night Winnie struck Anya with a boot in the face, leaving the child with a black eye. The sisters were told they would be sent back to Russia if they told anyone.
“We rehearsed what I would say to the teacher and why I had a black eye. And why I wasn’t in school. She told me to lie,” Anya said.
Child protective services alerted the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office. The couple lost custody of the kids and were given 4 years’ probation as part of a plea deal. Monday, a judge rejected the DA’s plea to revoke the couple’s probation and send them to jail.
Now safe in a new home after years of torture, these three beautiful sisters say the only thing they want from their former parents is an apology.
“Some closure, and the apology will make me feel better,” Oksanna said.
Scott Robinson, the attorney for Winnie Leschinsky, said Monday’s ruling was the correct one. Robinson says the Leachinskys have complied with all court ordered terms of probation, including writing a letter of apology to the girls.
Robinson said rehashing the case any further will not help the young girls, and it’s time to “move on.”
The following information is provided by the Colorado Department of Human Services:
Colorado has a statewide hotline for reporting suspected child abuse and neglect. The phone number is 1-844-CO-4-KIDS. The hotline provides one easy-to-remember phone number for individuals to use to report suspected child abuse and neglect. All hotline calls are routed to the county where a child resides. The hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. People don’t have to know for certain that abuse has occurred; they can simply call to report suspicions or concerns and let trained staff take it from there.