Prince Frederick, MD – A man described by his defenders as generous and caring was sentenced to 20 years in prison Wednesday, Sept. 3 in Calvert County Circuit Court on charges of sex abuse of minors. The sentence Judge E. Gregory Wells imposed on the defendant, Leonard Warren Kraisel, 74 of Chevy Chase, was announced following a lengthy hearing that included pleas for clemency due to the defendant’s age and calls for a long jail term due to the young victims’ ongoing mental anguish.
According to court records, a warrant was issued for Kraisel’s arrest following a Calvert Investigative Team (CIT) probe into an alleged incident involving the sexual abuse of two 10-year old males. The incident was alleged to have taken place in the boys’ bedroom at their home in Lusby. Kraisel was indicted on 10 counts related to the incident. In February of this year Kraisel entered Alford pleas to two counts of sex abuse minor and one count of third-degree sex offense. Wells ordered a presentence investigation.
“There’s a tendency in these types of cases to demonize,” stated defense attorney Bruce L. Marcus in his opening remarks. He characterized Kraisel as a man who was well-educated, one who had served his country in the military and overcame the effects of growing up in a broken home to become very successful in the business world. He noted the defendant knew the victims’ parents prior to their (boys) births and had been lavish in his financial support of the family. Marcus claimed the defendant provided the family with “tens of thousands of dollars” in assistance in buying a house, paying the mortgage and setting up a savings account for the children.
“They viewed him [Kraisel] as a family member and something went wrong,” said Marcus, who admitted his client “made a terrible mistake.”
Noting Kraisel sustained a gunshot wound to the head in 1996, Marcus cited an analysis conducted by a prominent neuropsychiatrist, Dr. Richard Restak, which revealed evidence that the defendant had sustained frontal lobe damage. Marcus said such an injury might have impaired Kraisel’s judgment and behavior.
The defense attorney also cited an evaluation conducted by Dr. Gregory K. Lehne of Johns Hopkins University, a medical expert in the analysis of sex offenders. Lehne’s evaluation concluded Kraisel was not a pedophile and his behavior at the time of the alleged incident “was out of character, aberrational.”
Further noting his client has a plethora of medical ailments that make incarceration problematic, Marcus told Wells, “a probationary disposition is certainly not out of the question.”
Calvert County Assistant State’s Attorney Kathryn Marsh labeled Kraisel “the monster who goes bump in the night” adding that the boys “were victimized in their own home in their bedroom in the middle of the night.” Marsh told the court the victims still “have horrible dreams” as a result of the incident. She indicated Kraisel has had a history of helping down and out individuals in exchange for lurid sexual acts. “These boys suffered due to his pattern of behavior,” said Marsh, adding the defendant, “was planning to victimize these boys.”
Marsh also expressed skepticism about the conclusions drawn by the mental evaluations, stating outdated tests were used during the process. “There’s no satisfactory explanation for his behavior,” she stated. “He just doesn’t get it.”
“I always look at them as my family,” said Kraisel during his remarks prior to sentencing. “I’m so sorry. I take full responsibility. I was the adult in this relationship and I shouldn’t have let it happen.”
The victimized family was in the courtroom but chose not to speak during the hearing. Turning to the family, Kraisel said in an amplified voice, “please accept my apology. I still love you and wish you no ill-will.”
In imposing the sentence, Wells admitted he had to grapple with the defendant’s “different backgrounds,” one of which was successful and another that was sordid. The judge then sentenced Kraisel to 10 years each for the two sex abuse of a minor charges, with the terms to be served consecutively; and two years for third-degree sex offense, with that sentence suspended. While in the custody of the Department of Corrections, Kraisel is to undergo psychiatric treatment. He is to pay restitution to the family.
Contact Marty Madden at firstname.lastname@example.org