Leschinsky, 3 Adopted Russian Sisters

Suspected Victims of Attachment Therapy/Parenting
Johnstown, Colorado
Rescued 2010 at ages 12, 13, and 14

Note: The following account has been prepared from press reports, personal interviews, trial transcripts, and other public records.

IN July 2011, Edelwina Leschinsky, 45, and Steven Leschinsky, 44, of Johnstown, Colorado, escaped prison time with a plea deal to charges of felony child abuse causing serious bodily injury, in addition to contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Their victims were their three daughters, adopted from Russia. The plea deal reduced the felony charges to three misdemeanors and included relinquishment of parental rights with 400 hours of community service each.

The abuse was first noted after the youngest girl attended school with a black eye, an injury resulting from a boot being thrown at her, which Edelwina admitted doing.

On questioning, all three girls told authorities of other abuse at home. Typical of Attachment Therapy parenting methods, the girls claimed that they endured excessive exercises and tedious chores. One girl was forced to run 45 miles in three day’s time for chewing her food “too much.” A physician reported to investigators that the “fist push-ups” required of the girls had led to a “significant deformity” of one girl’s hand, among other serious injuries. At the time of the investigation, the eldest girl had accumulated 3,600 push-ups as punishment, though Edelwina generously dropped the number to 3,000. The parents were threatening to send her back to Russia when she turned 15 years old.

The girls reported they were also required to stand on their heads for long periods and take cold showers outside; one claimed that she lived in the dog’s house for a week. Chores included cutting the lawn with scissors. (For being too slow in cutting grass, one girl apparently was choked in some manner with water from a garden hose.)

Edelwina administered most of the punishments, with the father watching or sometimes insuring compliance. Her attorney claimed the girls were punished for lying, and that the girls “had been forced to lie, steal and cheat in order to survive” as orphans in Russia.

Steven’s aunt Dee Leschinsky described the treatment of the girls as “sadistic torture”; she was glad the girls were out of the Leschinsky home, commenting: “Nobody deserves to be treated like a prisoner of war, especially not in America.”


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