- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 23, 2002

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) Puerto Rico is deporting back to Virginia a tent-revival preacher who was released this year after spending 11 years in prison for molesting young boys, a newspaper reported yesterday.
"I have no guarantees that this person is totally rehabilitated, and I am not going to risk a single boy or girl of this territory," Victor Rivera Gonzalez, secretary of Puerto Rico's Department of Correction and Rehabilitation, told the Primera Hora newspaper.
Self-ordained evangelist Mario "Tony" Leyva, 55, was released in April after serving 11 years of a 20-year prison sentence in Virginia for running a child-prostitution ring.
Prosecutors estimated that Leyva molested hundreds of boys over 25 years. Leyva pleaded guilty in federal court in Roanoke to charges that he and two associates conspired to molest youngsters in North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Ohio and Indiana.
Neither Leyva nor his parents in Henderson County, N.C., could immediately be reached for comment.
Primera Hora quoted Mr. Rivera Gonzalez as saying that the freed convict would be sent back to authorities in Virginia since he did not have permission from Puerto Rican government agencies to move to the island. Local officials said Leyva had only provisional permission from federal authorities for the move.
In Roanoke, federal probation officer Mike Price said last week that Puerto Rico had agreed to supervise Leyva's parole because he had an established home and had stayed out of trouble since his release in April. Leyva's wife and stepson had set up home on the island. The couple got married in the 1990s while Leyva was behind bars.
Mr. Rivera Gonzalez said Puerto Rico would revise its procedures for the transfer of released convicts to prohibit entry to convicted child abusers.
Primera Hora quoted Mike Echols, author of the book "Brother Tony's Boys: The Largest Case of Child Prostitution in U.S. History," as saying that neither the judge who sentenced Leyva nor his prosecutors and victims had been informed of his release.


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