You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Alaska

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 7, 2021

Anchorage Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for International Parental Kidnapping

ANCHORAGE – An Anchorage man was sentenced to 18 months and 19 days in federal prison followed by one year of supervised release for kidnapping his two young children in 2014 while on a family vacation in the Philippines. 

According to evidence presented at trial, Leo James Chaplin, 62, who is an American-born United States citizen, abducted the young children he shared with his then spouse in November 2014. Both children were born and lived in Anchorage prior to their abduction. Chaplin kept the children in the Philippines for over four-and-a-half years, depriving their mother from lawfully exercising her parental rights. Chaplin was also acting in flagrant disregard of Alaska family court orders to return the children to Alaska. In July 2019 Chaplin was arrested in the Philippines and the U.S. Marshals Service returned him to the United States in September 2019 for prosecution. The Federal Bureau of Investigation in conjunction with the U.S. Department of State ensured the safe reunification between the children and their mother. 

 “This sentence is a strong reminder that there are severe consequences for any parent who kidnaps their children,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Bryan Wilson of the District of Alaska. “Abducting young children and hiding them in a foreign country will not be tolerated and we will seek justice for those torn apart. The years of separation are lost forever, and the resulting emotional tragedy is unimaginable.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Department of State and U.S. Customs and Border Protection conducted the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of this case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Allison O’Leary and George Tran prosecuted the case.

To learn more about the FBI’s Crimes Against Children Program, visit fbi.gov. For more information and resources on International Parental Kidnapping, visit DOJ’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section webpage.

###

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
21-37
Updated May 7, 2021