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Latimer Asks That County Sports Hall of Fame Member Be Removed

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Rich Leaf, pictured officiating a high school soccer game, pleaded guilty to a federal pornography charge and could be removed from the Westchester County Sports Hall of Fame.

County officials have requested that the Westchester Sports Hall of Fame expel a 2017 inductee after he pleaded guilty to a federal pornography charge last week.

Westchester County Executive George Latimer and Board of Legislators Chair Vedat Gashi jointly announced Wednesday that they are asking the Hall of Fame’s board of directors to take the action following the June 29 guilty plea by Rich Leaf, who for close to 40 years served as the voice of the Section 1 basketball tournament at the County Center and of Iona basketball.

Leaf, 74, a Somers resident, was also a longtime youth soccer referee and had served as president of Westchester-Putnam Approved Soccer Officials Association.

“A crime is a crime of sorts, of various sorts, but some are particularly heinous, and whenever we’re dealing with a particular individual in a position of trust and faith that has committed a crime in that general direction, we feel the need to act and to act quickly,” Latimer said.

Gashi said they have sent a letter to the board of directors asking for a swift decision to ensure that the Hall of Fame upholds its mission to the sports community and the general public.

“By doing so, I believe we send a clear message that our organization is committed to the safety and the well-being of the community and that we can’t tolerate any actions that compromise the trust and respect that we’ve earned over the years,” Gashi said.

The Examiner reached out to the Hall of Fame on Thursday but did not receive a response regarding the timing of any consideration of the request.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s office following Leaf’s February 2021 arrest, between March 2019 and April 2020, Leaf posed as a teenager to communicate via Skype with a minor. During these conversations, the minor sent Leaf a video of himself in the shower as well as a fully nude photo.

Leaf could face five to 20 years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced in January.

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