Prosecutors seek increased bail for accused child sex abuser

Published: Feb. 14, 2022 at 10:28 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 14, 2022 at 11:00 PM CST
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WETUMPKA, Ala. (WSFA) - Prosecutors in Elmore County are seeking a higher bond amount for a Deatsville man accused of sexually abusing a child.

77-year-old Leon Albert Prince, a former Alabama Sunday school teacher, is charged with one count of sexual abuse of a child less than 12 years of age.

Prince was indicted by an Elmore County grand jury on Jan. 7 and was booked into the Elmore County jail on Jan. 24. He was released the same day after posting his $40,000 bail.

Prosecutors filed a motion to increase Prince’s bail to $500,000, and Circuit Judge Bill Lewis set a hearing to consider a bond increase for Prince on Feb. 15.

“Is he a danger to the public? Absolutely,” said Elmore County Chief Deputy District Attorney C.J. Robinson.

“Is 40,000 enough? No, in my opinion, it’s not, and that’s why tomorrow we’re asking for that number to be increased significantly. I’m hoping after the judge hears our argument tomorrow that he’ll agree with us,” Robinson said.

Robinson said the January indictment stems from an incident that happened sometime in 2010 or 2011. The victim delayed reporting the abuse until recently.

This is not, however, the first time Prince has faced charges involving the sexual abuse of a child.

Prince served 15 years of a 30-year sentence for the sexual abuse of Allison Black Cornelius. Cornelius was 7 years old in 1972 when she says Prince, her Sunday school teacher, sexually abused her.

“In January through about March of 1972, he raped and molested and tortured me,” Cornelius said.

Cornelius came forward 20 years after the abuse and testified against Prince in Jefferson County. The trial sparked national attention that Cornelius says brought out dozens of victims who spoke of similar abuse by Prince. Cornelius was the only one who took him to court.

Cornelius has made it her mission to advocate on the behalf of victims of crime, including those victimized by Prince. She plans to be present for Tuesday’s hearing.

Prince was released in 2006 and has since been living in Deatsville as a registered sex offender.

In October 2020, Prince sought a pardon from the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles and was granted a hearing, but was denied a pardon.

The Elmore County district attorney’s office said since his release from prison it is believed Prince has created opportunities for himself to volunteer with local programs serving young people.

“It is now 100% clear that Leon Prince accesses his victims through mostly faith-based type programming,” Cornelius said.

Cornelius is hopeful the judges decision will keep Prince off the streets for good.

“We have to do a better job in the judicial system, in our legal system, of protecting the public from people like this,” Cornelius said.

The office of the district attorney and VOCAL are committed to protecting victims of crime. For those who may have information pertaining to crimes committed by Prince, or for those who have been victimized and would like to speak to an advocate, help is available. Victims may call 800.239.3219 in order to speak with someone who can assist.

WSFA 12 News reached out to Prince’s attorney ahead of the bail hearing, but we have not heard back.

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