According to a report posted yesterday at AnnArbor.com, a well-known Ypsilanti man by the name of Leonardo Devinci Christian has been arrested on multiple criminal sexual charges, which include “one count of sexual penetration with an uninformed partner when there’s risk of AIDS, a felony that carries a maximum penalty of four years in prison.” And, as if that weren’t bad enough, the victim, now 14, was apparently 13 at the time that the alleged abuse began. (There is still no word as to whether or not the boy has contracted the HIV virus.) Christian, it would appear, met the boy through one of the charitable events that he was known for hosting in the community.
While I don’t know Christian personally, I was aware of the holiday dinners that he would coordinate downtown, and the fundraiser that he initiated to help the families of the three children that died in the Paradise Manor fire of 2007. Last night, when I was told of his arrest, I mentioned to my friends that I wouldn’t know him if I saw him, but, now that I see his photo in the news, I recognize him from City Council meetings, where he, as an employee of former mayoral candidate Steve Pierce, could be seen videotaping sessions for the website that Pierce operates – YpsiNews.com. While I don’t think that I ever spoke with Christian personally, I know that we share many acquaintances in common, and, from what I’m hearing, these people are absolutely devastated. No one, from what I’m hearing, had any inkling that Christian was capable of doing these things that he’s been accused of.
It’s worth reiterating that, as of right now, these are just accusations. Christian has not been found guilty of anything, and we do not know the extent of the evidence against him.
[note: Knowing someone who was wrongly accused of having had sexual relations with a minor, I am very aware of how devastating such allegations can be, and, as such, I was reluctant to post this. As several people wrote to me, though, asking for me to start a thread, so that they would have somewhere other than AnnArbor.com to discuss this story, I thought that I'd put something up. I would ask, however, that people keep in mind that, as of right now, Christian is still an innocent man.]