February 28, 2020
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Wells pastor accused of exploiting elderly

Journal Tribune | BDN
Journal Tribune | BDN
Peter Leon of Wells, as seen here in a photo from his LinkedIn account, faces several criminal charges alleging he took financial advantage of an elderly Kennebunk woman.

A Wells man who is listed as a senior pastor at the Wells Branch Baptist Church, also known as Trinity Coastal Community Church, faces multiple charges in connection with the alleged exploitation of an incapacitated elderly Kennebunk woman in May.

Peter Leon, 66, is scheduled to make a first appearance at York County Superior Court in Alfred on Dec. 18. The grand jury this month handed up indictments charging Leon with felony and misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a dependent person along with misdemeanor criminal restraint, criminal trespass, criminal mischief and theft.

Police said Leon befriended the elderly woman while he was volunteering as a pastor at Atria Senior Living where she lived.

Kennebunk Police Detective Steve Borst said the elderly victim had been determined to be incapacitated by the state and had been assigned a guardian and conservator. Borst said police became involved when the conservator called to make inquiries about keeping Leon away from the woman through a protection order.

“Her attorney told me he actually took her from the [senior residence] — to the bank, and withdrew some money,” Borst said. The amount was not disclosed.

Police allege Leon used the money to have the locks changed on the woman’s Kennebunkport home, which was on the market, and took the “for sale” sign down.

According to Borst, Leon allegedly told the woman he’d help her return to her home, even though the property was not equipped for wheelchair access which she required, and suggested his daughter would live with the woman.

“His goal was to ingratiate himself and have access to her accounts and property,” Borst alleged.

It is unclear if Leon remains pastor of the church.

On Sept. 15, Leon filed an appeal of his Sept. 1 conviction for misdemeanor assault that involved touching a 15-year-old girl on the back while in a line at a Sanford fast food restaurant in the fall of 2016. Leon also allegedly made a suggestive remark to the girl. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail, which were suspended, and placed on one-year administrative release, with the conditions that he refrain from criminal conduct, not possess or use any unlawful drugs, notify the District Attorney’s Office of any contact with law enforcement within 96 hours and to have no contact with the victim, among other conditions. He was fined $300.

Leon ran an unsuccessful campaign for the Republican nod for the Maine House of Representatives in the June 2014 primary. His resume includes a stint as a president of the Wells Rotary Club.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Leon has been a tennis coach, a volunteer firefighter, and was a special education teacher for the Calais School Department for 10 years, as well as a recreation director for the eastern Washington County city. The LinkedIn profile lists Leon as the owner-instructor at Leon’s International Tennis Center. No telephone listing could be found for the center.

Leon, according to his LinkedIn profile, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in theology from New England Bible College in 1984.

Borst said court papers ordering Leon to stay away from the woman were issued within a few days of the conservator’s initial inquiry, and he advised family members or friends of the elderly who feel someone may be taking advantage of them to contact authorities.

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