According to the Cliffview Pilot, 41-year-old investigative reporter Charles Leaf has been accused of “digitally penetrating a minor and masturbating in front of the youngster several times in recent weeks.” The Pilot reports that the victim is only 4 years old.
Leaf has been a fast-rising reporter in the Fox News organization, going from the hinterlands in places like Mobile, AL to WNYW in the New York market in just over a decade. He’s been featured on the O’Reilly Factor, The Fox Report, Fox & Friends, Greta Van Susteren’s show and Geraldo at Large, just to name a few. While with the New York affiliate Leaf has specialized in hot-button issue cases like the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” and the Bernard Madoff investigation.
Accusations of being pushy and overly-aggressive have dogged Leaf, a former Marine, throughout his career. The following comes from an article about Leaf published in a Denver paper over 5 years ago:
Leaf, who’s in his mid-thirties, sees himself as a crusader. Yet several previous on-the-job incidents raise questions about his aggressive style. During a stint at a station in Mobile, Alabama, he was the focus of a 1999 lawsuit that impugned him for a “willful physical attack” against a local councilwoman; the case was eventually settled. Two years later, while working in Detroit, a man told police that Leaf spewed homophobic obscenities and tried to attack him after the reporter was pelted with eggs while covering a story. And Bobbi Barrow, spokeswoman for Denver Health Medical Center, believes Leaf misrepresented himself to get an interview with her boss, Dr. Patricia Gabow, at an event last November. “What he did was unprofessional,” Barrow says.
For his part, Charles Leaf has always claimed that these incidents were overblown, even though he left the Mobile station not long after the alleged assault there and that station settled with the councilwoman in question. When interviewed by Denver Westword for the article quoted above, he said, “If what took place in Mobile hadn’t happened, you wouldn’t be talking to me about someone in Detroit throwing eggs at me.”
The Detroit incident was, on one level, more understandable than Leaf’s alleged assault on the councilwoman in Mobile–Leaf had, after all, just had an egg smashed on his head. However, he may have let his mouth run away with him:
[Accuser Sebastian] Graham according to the police report, alleged that Leaf called him a “cocksucker” and a “faggot.” He also alleged that he was hit in the face by the news crew during an ensuing scuffle. Graham said he kicked one of the alleged attackers, and that was enough to get them to back off, allowing him to shut the door and call police.
Overblown or not, none of these events actually predicted the kind of accusation now leveled against the crusading reporter.
Charles Leaf is being held in the Bergen County Jail in Hackensack, NJ on $250,000 bail.