NEW HARTFORD, N.Y. – Brutal beatings that left one teenager dead and his brother seriously injured Monday at a New York church were part of what members considered a “counseling session,” according to police.
New Hartford Police Chief Michael Inserra said Wednesday that both Lucas and Christopher Leonard were subjected to hours of physical punishment at the Word of Life Church “in hopes that each would confess to prior sins and ask for forgiveness.”
Inserra says investigators are still looking into what the supposed sins were. He said there’s no indication, at this point, that the issue was sexual assault.
Nineteen-year-old Lucas Leonard died. Seventeen-year-old Christopher is hospitalized in serious condition.