Convicted sex offender continues to work as magician with kids

Posted: March 21, 2014

HE CLAIMS TO be the man with the magic touch on his website, a master of illusion who creates an "intimate" feeling for all his audiences.

But Jeffrey Leach, who uses the stage name Jeff Carson, doesn't divulge that he's also a registered sex offender on the New Jersey Megan's Law database for an incident involving an underage girl. A loophole in the law allows him to continue to work with children.

"Offender inappropriately touched victim and had victim touch him inappropriately over a 6 year period," the Megan's Law site states on Leach's profile.

Leach, 51, of Burlington City, was charged with sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child in Ocean County in 2007. After news of that arrest broke, he was charged with aggravated sexual assault in Camden County. Leach pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual contact and continued working as a magician.

"The terms of his probation don't address [his] access to children," said Jason Laughlin, a spokesman for the Camden County Prosecutor's Office. "He's going to begin parole next month and parole will set terms that should address issues including when and under what conditions he can be around children."

Laughlin said prosecutors are now aware of the loophole and will seek to close it by asking judges for either no probation or that restrictions, including access to children, be addressed directly in sentencing.

When reached for comment Wednesday night, Leach said he couldn't understand why anyone would have a problem with him working around children, then he declined to comment further, saying he was "babbling."

Leach blamed "disgruntled magicians" for digging into his past and contacting a website called MagicLeaks.com, which posted a long story about him last year.

One Philadelphia magician said he resigned from several local magician groups because they refused to ban sex offenders. That magician declined to comment yesterday and other local magicians did not return requests for comment.

Undated promotional photos on Leach's Jeff Carson website show him performing on stage with small children. He includes the Philadelphia Zoo, Sesame Place, the Franklin Institute and Six Flags Great Adventure as "satisfied clients." A spokeswoman for the zoo said they've never had a relationship with Carson and a spokeswoman for Six Flags said no one there had heard of him. A Sesame Place spokeswoman said there was no record of Carson ever performing there. A Franklin Institute spokeswoman said there is no indication that he was ever hired for an event there.

A spokeswoman for the Academy of Natural Sciences said a contract with Leach was terminated before any appearance after a background check and he was barred from entering the building. He had been scheduled to appear at the Bug Fest there in August 2013.

According to news accounts in the Inquirer and Courier-Post at the time of his arrest, Leach grew up in Cherry Hill and claimed he was once struck by lightning while performing outside. He was using the name "Ron Geoffries, the Magic Librarian" at the time of his 2007 arrest.


On Twitter: @JasonNark

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