A Wells pastor faces charges after he allegedly tried to gain legal control of an elderly woman’s house.

A York County grand jury this week indicted Peter W. Leon, 66, on charges of endangering the welfare of a dependent person intentionally or knowingly; endangering the welfare of a dependent person recklessly; criminal restraint; criminal trespass of a dwelling; criminal mischief; and theft of less than $500.

According to Kennebunk police Detective Stephen Borst, Leon is accused of trying to take over the finances of an elderly woman who was living at The Atria, a Kennebunk assisted-living facility. Borst said the woman was incapacitated and her affairs were under the control of a local lawyer, who had been appointed her conservator.

The lawyer contacted police in May about Leon, who has been pastor of Wells Branch Baptist Church and was a volunteer pastor at The Atria. It’s not known if Leon is still the pastor of the church and attempts to reach him Thursday were unsuccessful. Calls to the church were not answered and a phone number listed for his home in Wells has been disconnected.

Borst said the lawyer told police that Leon had taken the woman, without permission, to her bank to withdraw money. The exact amount was not disclosed but it was less than $500. That led to the criminal restraint and theft charges, Borst said.

According to Borst, the lawyer also said that Leon got the keys to the woman’s house in Kennebunkport and changed the locks to prevent real estate agents from showing the house and selling it. He allegedly paid the locksmith with the money withdrawn from the woman’s account, Borst said. Those actions led to the criminal trespass of a dwelling and criminal mischief charges.

At one point, Leon allegedly told the woman that he was going to move her from The Atria back into her home, where his daughter would care for her, Borst said. However, he said, the house was not equipped for the woman, who is in a wheelchair.

The alleged attempt to exert control over the woman’s finances when she had a conservator appointed to oversee her affairs, as well as other actions, led to the two charges of endangering the welfare of a dependent person, Borst said.

Wells police in late May served Leon with a protection order filed by the attorney barring his contact with the woman, Borst said. There was no lawyer listed for Leon in the indictment and Borst said he doesn’t know if a court date has been set.

Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at:

[email protected]

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