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Crime & Courts

Tampa clergyman accused of falsifying probation documents


Published:   |   Updated: August 1, 2013 at 06:45 AM

TAMPA - A Tampa clergyman has been arrested, accused of falsifying probation documents for groping hugs.

Tampa police began investigating Charles Leigh after receiving a tip he had been asking for sexual favors in exchange for falsifying probation documents. Leigh identifies himself as the head and bishop of the Apostolic Catholic Church, 7813 N. Nebraska Ave. The church is not affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church.

Police sent a female undercover officer to meet with the 64-year-old Leigh. The officer officer posed as a defendant serving probation on a grand theft charge in the first meeting on June 19.

Police said Leigh signed paperwork documenting 17 hours of community service in exchange for four strong hugs, even though the undercover officer never worked any probation hours.

"He pretty much wrapped himself around her," said Tampa police Cpl. Felicia Pecora. "It was pretty yucky for her."

On Wednesday, the undercover officer returned again. He credited her with 33 community service hours for three groping hugs without her doing any of the community service work.

Leigh again wrapped himself around the undercover officer, and she had to push him off, Pecora said. He grabbed her again and felt around her waist area, Pecora said.

The undercover officer signaled other officers, who came in and arrested Leigh. He has been charged with six counts of falsifying official documents.

"She didn't do one hour; she didn't do one minute (of work)," Pecora said.

jpatino@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7659

Twitter: @jpatinoTBO

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