JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. - A Colorado State Representative will spend the next two weeks in jail.
State Rep. Tim Leonard, R-Evergreen, was held in contempt of court in September during a divorce proceeding that started in 2012. The contempt charge dealt with violating the judge orders as it related to schooling decisions for his children.
On Friday, the judge sentenced Leonard to 14 days in jail. Jefferson County jail records show Leonard is in custody and is set to be released Dec. 23.
The Colorado Independent had a reporter in the courtroom and describes Leonard being taken out of court in handcuffs.
Leonard and his wife were divorced in 2013, but their family legal struggles have dragged on for more than four years.
Leonard was appointed to the state House after Jon Keyser stepped down to run for U.S. Senate. Leonard won election last month by less than 2,000 votes.
Tim Leonard (Republican) 26,232 votes - 51.83%
Tammy Story (Democrat) 24,381 votes - 48.17%
House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, R-Castle Rock, provided this statement to Denver7:
"This must be a very difficult time for Representative Leonard and his family. I know he cares deeply for his children and my thoughts and prayers are with the Leonard family."
Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst also issued a statement Friday after learning the news:
“It is my duty to protect the integrity of the House of Representatives, and it is troubling when a member does not uphold the law,” Speaker Hullinghorst said. “It is absurd to imagine Rep. Leonard taking a seat on the House Education Committee, to which he was reappointed just last week by Minority Leader Neville, and making important decisions for Colorado’s students when a judge has prohibited Rep. Leonard from making educational decisions regarding his own children.”
Leonard was appointed to the House Education Committee and the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee for the legislative session that begins next month.
He is the first sitting Colorado lawmaker in at least four decades to be sent to jail, Hullinghorst said.
Leonard has been a commercial real estate broker for 30 years and owns a development management firm, according to his state legislator biography.
He has six children, two in college, two in high school and two in grade school. In 2011, he partnered with his older son, Peter, to purchase a Dazbog Coffee franchise in Castle Rock.
"He thinks the best way for his kids to learn how to work hard and help others, is to work at an early age. So far, three of his children have worked at the coffee shop," the bio says. "Raising healthy, holy, and happy children is Tim’s vocation and primary goal."
Leonard displayed an early commitment to education. He was born and raised in a Detroit suburb and paid his own tuition for a private high school education, the bio says.
"In 2015, with four other board members, Tim helped start a new K-12 classical charter school in Golden, Golden View Classical Academy," the bio states. He renovated an office building with $2 million in donations and the school opened in September 2015 with 500 students.