A beloved piano teacher looked like a timid young woman with intentions as pure as the driven snow. So, no one ever imaged what was going on in her home behind closed doors — until another woman happened upon videos of sex crimes being committed, exposing the piano teacher’s deep depravity, and urgently called the police.
Leigh Felten, a 31-year-old single mother who taught private piano lessons to children and young adults in Florida, seemed harmless, but teaching piano wasn’t the only thing she was doing for money. She had found another way to create a cash flow, and she wasn’t above exploiting and victimizing an innocent infant to do it. As everyone soon learned, Felten wasn’t just a piano teacher. She had an entirely different side business, doing unfathomable things.
According to Felten, the father of her child dumped her after she gave birth, leaving her struggling with loneliness, depression, and low self-esteem, in addition to the financial burden of raising a child alone. Desperate to make ends meet, she started making breastfeeding tutorials with her infant son for her YouTube channel. However, she quickly discovered a market for a much different type of video.
Her breastfeeding how-tos turned into graphic, oily rubdowns, genital exposure, and what prosecutors described as sexual contact between Felten and her 18-month-old son, according to USA Today. The single mother offered her son’s innocence to anyone willing to pay for it, marketing the clips to a male audience. The raunchy breastfeeding videos of Felten, naked with her son, sickly twisted a natural way to nourish a child into a sexually deviant act — all for money.
Felten’s abuse came to an abrupt end, however, when a woman over a thousand miles away uncovered the videos of the criminal business, which her husband had paid for through PayPal. The interaction between Felten and her Wisconsin customer didn’t end with the videos, either. The man’s wife alleged that her husband also traveled to Florida to have sex with Felten. Although there was no mention of any potential child involvement in that meeting, police would find everything they needed in the videos to arrest Felten on a litany of charges.
When the unnamed woman discovered that her husband, Blaude Lein, purchased and downloaded seven videos of Leigh Felten inappropriately touching a child while breastfeeding, she contacted the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office. They reviewed some of the videos, which had titles like “Good Little Boy” and “Mommy’s a Whore,” according to Rolling Stone.
A sheriff’s office lieutenant said it “was clearly not done for the purpose of education or artistic display. Based on the content, and the fact it is being sold by Felten, it is clear this video is for sexual purposes.” The Tallahassee Police Department was notified, and officers went to Felten’s home, where they discovered more explicit videos of Felten and her child that had been sold to 40 to 50 men, CrimeOnline reported.
Police also found that Felten used the title of “single mom” to strum up sympathy. On a Google+ account under the same email as her YouTube channel, she advertised “New unlisted vids for a donation,” urging others to “Please support a single mommy,” as if she was selling something sweet and innocent when the videos were in fact about as sick as it gets.
According to the police report, “At one point, the female’s vagina and the child’s penis appear to be in contact with one another.” At least one video of “Leigh Felten AKA Sugar Leche” was also discovered on the pornographic website PornHub, Tallahassee Democrat reported. In that video, a woman, believed to be Felten, is seen masturbating while lactating.
Leigh Felten was initially charged with 45 sexual offenses, including several counts of capital sexual battery, or rape. Defined as “non-consensual oral, anal, or vaginal contact with another person using their sexual organ or an object,” sexual battery involving a child under the age of 12 is a capital offense and comes with a mandatory sentence of life in prison. Felten was also charged with promoting a sexual performance by a child, possession of child pornography, and lewd and lascivious molestation.
Leigh Felten’s attorneys argued that she shouldn’t be charged at all since the act of breastfeeding is protected against prosecution by Florida law. “Ms. Felten cannot be prosecuted for anything involving her breastfeeding. Period. Full stop,” John Eagen, Felten’s attorney, wrote. “That means that breastfeeding, no matter how ‘sexy’ or ‘titillating’ the manner in which it is done, can never be deemed to legally constitute ‘an unnatural or lascivious act, sexual conduct or computer pornography’ in the state of Florida.” Her fate, however, would be determined by a jury.
In court, Felten claimed she was “not a monster” and described the videos as a “silly little playful thing,” but the jury wasn’t completely convinced. After nearly three years in jail with her bond denied several times, Felten was found guilty of lewd lascivious performance, a second-degree felony defined as “intentional sexual performance in the presence of a child younger than 16.” Sadly, she was acquitted on the dozens of other charges she was facing at the time. But, her legal troubles were far from over.
Felten was sentenced to 10 years in state prison and will also have to register as a sex offender for the rest of her life, but she’s since been slapped with additional charges. Assistant State Attorney Lorena Vollrath-Bueno has filed 37 new counts of aggravated possession of child pornography, stemming from the videos, meaning Felten will once again have to face a jury, Tallahassee Democrat reports.
Perhaps the best news is that Leigh Felten won’t be able to regain visitation rights of her son, who will remain in the custody of his father. In addition to her prison sentence and being on sex offender probation for five years and required to wear a GPS monitor when she is released, she has also been barred from contact with her victim.
Her little boy has been freed from his mother’s presence and is hopefully getting the healthy love and attention he missed out on in Felten’s care. Felten took what should have been a beautiful bonding moment and twisted it into a depraved act, victimizing an innocent child. She may say she’s not a monster, but she’s certainly not a mother either.