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Woman in Adoption Fraud Blames Unhappy Past : Crime: Leanne Dees says a traumatic childhood in Arkansas and susceptibility to men led her to promise her unborn babies to up to 14 couples.

April 11, 1993|ALAN ABRAHAMSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

He also took the unusual step of ordering her to report to federal authorities if she ever gets pregnant again, saying that prospective parents must be on guard. And he said of the children Leanne Dees had given up for adoption, "She was selling her inventory."

That comment "cut through me," Leanne Dees said. "Everything just went numb after that."

The only thing keeping her going, she said, have been the conversations she had a few weeks ago through the air vents of the federal jail in downtown Los Angeles--chats with a male inmate.

It's not about romance, she said. It's about a man--in particular, a suspected bank robber--who told her straight-out to go along and get along with jailers, who "made me straighten up." That's "the kind of guy I need in my life," she said.

Dees' defense attorney, Hermosa Beach lawyer Jerry L. Newton, plans to appeal her conviction, contending she merely exercised a birth mother's right under California law to change her mind.

"The thing about that is, I will have most of my time done by the time the appeal comes up," Leanne Dees said. "So what do I actually win? Maybe I get found innocent. So what? My life is already taken away.

"I'm tired of life," she said. "I don't now how much longer I can go on. I don't think I would kill myself. But I'm exhausted. I can't stop crying. I can't sleep. I can't eat. I pray every night that God will go ahead and take me on his own."

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