The parents of an 8-year-old girl who was allegedly attacked in an attempted luring by a retired Philadelphia Police officer last month, spoke exclusively to NBC10 News about their daughter’s ordeal.
Seventy-two-year-old Leo Haley, a retired, high-ranking Philly Police Officer, was arrested Thursday, accused of trying to get the young girl into his car on Oct. 17 while she was playing on the 7000 block of Voight Road in Roxborough, police said.
The victim’s parents say they are grateful that police nabbed the man who allegedly attacked their daughter.
“I was so happy I felt like crying, really. He can’t hurt nobody else,” said Chris Long, the victim’s father.
The victim’s parents explained how one afternoon in October while their daughter was playing near the front steps of their home, Haley allegedly grabbed their daughter by the neck – only letting go when he heard a car drive by. Police say they were told by the girl that Haley then threatened to kill her if she told anyone.
“When someone walks, actually walks right on your property and grabs your child, it’s very, very scary, “ Long told NBC10 News.
It was the victim’s quick-thinking helped lead police to the Haley, according to her mother.
“She actually took my advice and I said ‘if anything happened…look at people’s license plates because that identifies people,’” Donna Harte said.
The 30-year veteran of the police force has a history of sexual crimes involving children after his retirement. He is also a registered sex offender. Haley pled guilty in Delaware County last year to Child Pornography Possession and was sentenced to house arrest for six months and then probation, according to investigators. Haley did not serve time in prison after his lawyer argued he had health issues.
“He’s a predator, he ought to be treated like a predator - he ought to be put in a penitentiary and he ought to stay in a penitentiary,” said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey.
Haley’s neighbors who were stunned by the news say they are frustrated that he was not behind bars.
“I don’t understand why he hasn’t been in jail all this time,” Marlene Sahms said. “You hear of much more severe punishment for others, so where is the fairness there?”
Police told NBC10 News that they are looking into rumors of other attempted lurings in the Roxborough area, but they made no connection with Haley to those allegations.
For the girl’s family, Haley’s arrest is a sigh of relief.
“I’m just grateful that maybe we can sleep now that he’s off the streets and that he didn’t harm another child,” Donna Harte said.