Leon Howard Anderson – Repeat Sex Offender – On the Prowl

Leon Howard Anderson, the convicted sex offender who allegedly tried to abduct a teenager walking on a Sparta street last week, now is being eyed by authorities for possible ties to other unsolved cases, according to detectives.

The 49-year-old Cedar Springs man is lodged in the Kent County Jail on a $500,000 bond. He was arraigned earlier this week on charges of assault with intent to commit a felony after the alleged attack on the 19-year-old in Sparta. Anderson’s next court date is Jan. 22 in Rockford District Court.

The victim told police she was walking on Averill Street about 2 p.m. Friday when a man stopped his truck to ask her a question, then tried to force her inside. She fought off her attacker with help from three passers-by, who stopped their vehicle to assist her.

They declined to speak to The Press but got the truck’s license plate number, which helped police track down Anderson.

The victim said she did not know the suspect. Stranger assaults are uncommon, noted Kent County sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Ron Gates.

“This is a rare type of crime in our area, and we are looking at interviewing him and getting copies of the Sparta Police report,” Gates said.

The sheriff’s department continues to investigate a case from September, when a jogger told police she was attacked in the pre-dawn darkness and sexually assaulted in an Alpine Township ditch.

Gates said some force was used in that attack, and detectives plan to see if there are any ties to the Sparta case.

But the Alpine Township incident involved an adult woman, and Anderson’s previous victims have been youths, according to court records. The victim in the Sparta attack was described as a petite young woman.

In 1989, Anderson pled guilty to attempted first-degree criminal sexual conduct against a victim younger than 13.

In May 1993, he pled guilty to multiple felony counts including second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a relative and third-degree criminal sexual conduct, for which he spent seven years in prison.

He is registered as a sex offender, according to state records.

“25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years”

………Sarah Tofte

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