CARLSBAD — A 24-year-old man accused of sexually molesting a teen on the grounds of a Carlsbad elementary school will have to stand trial on charges that could net him a decade behind bars, a Superior Court judge ruled July 23.
Leo Burns Welnick pleaded not guilty to one felony count each of forcible oral copulation, kidnapping and oral copulation by a person over 21 on someone under 16 stemming from a June 25 encounter with a 15-year-old Carlsbad girl at Magnolia Elementary School.
At the request of defense attorney Brad Patton, Judge K. Michael Kirkman reduced Welnick’s bail by $75,000 to $125,000 citing he felt the reduction reflected the evidence presented at the preliminary hearing.
Patton told the judge his client is a Carlsbad local with strong family ties to the area. Further, he said Welnick, who has no prior criminal record, suffers from bipolar disorder.
The victim testified she and her teenage female friend were having a conversation on the school’s grounds about performing oral sex, when they noticed Welnick approaching with his unleashed dog. After Welnick made a comment to the girls about taking sex education, the victim said she and her friend proceeded to the “kindergarten playground” to continue their conversation in private.
As the girls walked to the playground, the victim said she found some duct tape and a mirror on the ground, and after she sat the mirror down a short time later the girls noticed Welnick was following them after he made a comment to them.
Welnick approached the girls again as they talked on a cement pipe near the playground, the victim said. This time he asked them their ages, which they told him and then the victim asked his age. Noticing the victim was making a bracelet out of the duct tape, she said Welnick asked for one.
As she made the bracelet, the victim’s friend left for a second time to take a phone call, the teen testified. Prior to the girl leaving, both teens recognized Welnick, who was wearing a sweatshirt and board shorts, had an erection, the victim said.
Now that Welnick and the victim were alone, she testified Welnick started rubbing up against her leg and then grabbed her legs and wrapped them around his waist and carried her to a more secluded section of the school grounds. He then dropped the girl to the ground and as she got on her knees to get up he grabbed her head and forced her to perform oral sex on him.
Patton asked the teenager why she didn’t run away as Welnick dropped his shorts and took off his sweatshirt to which she replied that she was afraid and unsure what he would do to her if she ran or screamed.
“I was too scared to make any kind of motion,” the victim said.
The victim’s friend testified when she returned from her phone call, she saw Welnick exiting the school grounds and then met up with the victim who was “shaking and crying.” She said there were visible signs that oral copulation had occurred. Further, the friend said the victim showed her the spot where she vomited afterward.
However, there was a discrepancy in the teens’ testimony about how long the victim was alone with Welnick.
The friend testified she only left once to take a phone, not twice like the victim said, during which time she hung out in a partially enclosed tunnel talking on her phone and listening to an iPod for approximately 30 minutes. She also said she texted the victim while she was away only to get a nonchalant reply.
A trial date was set for Sept. 28.