(Photo courtesy of MySpace.com/scottthelionheartblevins.)
Back in February, we interviewed Indiana-based fighter Scott “LionHeart” Blevins about his unrelenting quest for MMA glory, despite the fact that he’s never won a professional fight. Less than two weeks after that interview was published, Blevins was arrested on suspicion of child molestation, and suddenly it looked like there was something much darker behind the quirky and inspirational story of LionHeart. Now out of jail and awaiting trial, Blevins spoke exclusively with CagePotato.com to discuss the legal battle he’s facing that could put him in prison for the rest of his life.
CAGEPOTATO.COM: It’s good to talk to you again, Scott. Where have you been the last six months?
BLEVINS: Kosciusko County Jail.
The news report that first came out said you were arrested after a two-month investigation. Basically, they said you molested a girl under the age of 14, then helped police arrest three marijuana dealers. What exactly happened the day you were arrested?
Well, on October 14th I had emergency surgery, and then on the 17th my wife and kids asked to go to this guy’s house for a birthday party that was put on for my daughter. And that night she was molested by the guy, and as soon as I found out — which wasn’t until December 29th — I immediately rushed her to the emergency room to be checked for a rape kit, etc. And the police officer that we called, his name is Terry, he tried to say that my daughter was lying. He just didn’t believe it. He tried to say that she was coerced.
The night I took her to the emergency room, the Mentone cops came and talked to the guy who actually molested her, and from my understanding, he accused me to escape from what he did to my little girl. My daughter’s 11 and she’s been taking Tae Kwon Do, learning the honesty and faith of martial arts, and she has never lied throughout her martial arts career.
So your daughter has never changed her story in saying that it was this other guy who molested her, right?
Correct. He put the blame on me to escape these charges. I put a protective order on him while I was in jail for six months — the judge heard the case, he granted the protective order — and a week before he was supposed to be in for the hearing, he actually left the state. And he put his stepson in to say that he was in my house, and he witnessed sexual acts in front of other people. He hasn’t been in my house in over three years, so [this story] must have come from his stepfather.
The boy who said he was in my house had actually tried to molest my son. They go to Mentone elementary together, and he was over about three years ago, and we never had him back at the house because he told my daughter he wanted to marry her and stick his thing in her. And that’s where it started.
What specifically did the stepson say he witnessed at your house?
I don’t know, I actually haven’t seen the police report. I just know there’s a lot of false statements, so I just have to put trust in my lawyer. But he’s a really good lawyer; a year ago he was running for congress. His name is Jay Rigdon, and he’s a very well-respected lawyer.
If you were innocent of these accusations, why did you cooperate with police to bust the marijuana dealers Matthew Haag, Sarah Hein, and Nicky Blair?
Well, when the police came to my house, they didn’t have a warrant and they tried to tell me there was a pound of marijuana in my home. I let them search my home and they never found anything; they even brought in a K-9 unit. And the cop pretty much said that he was taking me to jail, and he was going to take my kids away. He never really said what I was going for, he just said “we believe that there’s drug activity, and if you don’t cooperate with us, we’re going to file molestation charges,” and I was like “excuse me?” And that’s when it dawned on me, I was like oh my God, the tables just flipped on me.
They stuck me out in front of a parking lot in my vehicle, and the cop used my cell phone to set up a drug bust, and made it sound like he was me or something. I was sitting right in front of him, and I wasn’t allowed to talk. I found out it was my cousin [Nicky Blair] that showed up, and when I realized what was going on I jumped out of my vehicle and went to him and I was like “cops, all over” and he took off and almost ran me over. I went across the street to get out of the Warsaw police department’s way, and this Mentone cop, the chief of police, came at me, kicked me to the ground four times, stuck his knee in my back and put a gun to my head.
We called EMS because I was actually hurt from where the cop kicked me, causing me sternum injuries where I gotta have surgery now. And they took me the hospital and told me that they weren’t going to do anything because the cop said that I only fell. But he knew what he did. I was black and blue, my ribs were black and blue, I had a blood clot going into my sternum causing a hernia. The whole six months, I was on 23-hour lockdown. And it’s not over yet.
Was there a trial?
I am facing a trial January 12th.
Why did they just let you out now?
I was released on my own recognizance because they didn’t get me into trial fast enough. Criminal rule 4(A), or something like that, where they’re not getting you into trial fast enough, and it’s like your sixth amendment, the right to a speedy trial. So they released me, but I kid you not, I tried everything to come up with $20,000 [10% of his $200,000 bond]. I got the bond reduced to $100,000, meaning $10,000, and I just could not come up with ten grand, not fighting and stuff. It just didn’t work.
What are the charges that you’re facing?
I’m facing an A felony, and I’m looking at 50 years on that, and I have a C, which is [up to] eight years, but they’ll max me out because it’s going to a trial.
Was this arrest the first time you’d been to jail?
I haven’t been in jail in nine years. I had some friends I hung out with that broke into some houses and they stole some checks and wrote the checks out to me, and I got caught up for forgery, but that was only a six month sentence.
What was the hardest part of your most recent experience in jail?
Not knowing what’s going on in the real world, you know, my career, my family, my kids. Especially my daughter, from what she’s gone through, through all this. I mean, she’s a very intelligent young girl. When I got out, she was so happy to see me. And not to put this county jail down, they did an awesome job, but my medical attention got ignored the whole time I was in there, from my injuries. And I did file a lawsuit against the officers, and I’m suing the mayor of Warsaw, because the Warsaw police department became involved. And the chief of police is also getting sued for the injuries, because he also hurt my wife, and they falsely arrested her.
I’m looking at over, well, they never gave me a price, but I have a cap on the lawsuit, and between their investigation and my other attorney — because I have two attorneys — and the one is very expensive, he costs me $300 an hour, and just for a clerk I’m paying $75 an hour, and $200 for a paralegal. So I kind of got myself wrapped up there.
I have a son, who was born November 12th of 2008, and I had to do a DNA test, and I made them keep my DNA and I gave it to my lawyer and I said “man, you need to hang on to that, because if there is no evidence, well they need to present it, because here’s our evidence.” If there’s something that actually happened or occurred, there would have been DNA, because from my understanding, the girl got checked.
When exactly did you get out of jail, and what have you been doing since then?
I got out September 10th at 4 o’clock, and as soon as I got out I took seven members of my family — my mom, my stepdad, my uncle, and my wife and kids — we went to Golden Corral and I spent almost $80 for us all to eat. And now, I’m just taking it one day at a time. That’s all I can do for now.
How worried are you that you’re going to get convicted? It doesn’t sound like there’s any real evidence to convict you, but do you think you could possibly do a prison term for this?
I have to put my faith and my life in the hands of 12 jurors. It’s a three-day trial, and the prosecutor and attorney are going to have to pick out who they want, and they’ll be able to strike out certain ones. But it’s scary, because 58 years is a lifespan. And I may not do half of that — there’s time cuts and stuff like that — but I’m actually scared for my life, because all it takes is somebody to make up a logical lie that somebody else could believe, and that could be enough to convict an innocent person.
Will you be able to bring up your daughter as a witness to say “Scott Blevins did not do these things”?
My daughter will probably not be doing a lot of testimony on the stand. She went into counseling, and I transferred her from one counselor to another counselor, and both of them said that this other guy, Brian, had done this. We have a family doctor that examined her also after the hospital visits. The cop that arrested me, his name is Terry Engstrand, and he’s been after me for four or five years. He even showed up to one of my fights in Fort Wayne; him and the chief came to harass me.
Why do you think that is?
I don’t know. They come by my home and stalk my house, and I called the state police on them before, because they were harassing me and my wife, and I had to go to the sheriff because it got so bad. These guys were up in my windows that night, 10, 11 o’clock at night driving by. I thought the more I mess with this the worse it’s gonna get. And it did. Because now I’m facing life for something I didn’t do.
Have you had any contact with Brian since the incident?
My understanding, before I was released, was that they cannot locate Brian. Brian is on the run. He failed to come for a deposition, and because of that his testimony will not be heard, since he was the one who actually made the accusation. I think he felt guilty when I put that protective order on him, because he didn’t even show up for the hearing. He wrote the judge and said that he was out looking for a job, but his house was in Burket which is quite a ways from where I was living at. If I would have known the night that I dropped my daughter off at that man’s house, she would have never been at that man’s house. My wife even saw my daughter run from his bedroom to the bathroom, trying to pull up her pants. My wife witnessed this.
Do you think the fact that Brian isn’t going to be part of the trial helps your chances in getting out of this?
Yes. Right now, what it boils down to, the child protective service has failed to go after him, knowing that they’ve questioned my daughter twice, and her story has not changed.
What do you plan on doing until the trial? Will you be fighting again?
I’m going to continue my fighting career, because I cannot let this loophole stop me. I have a goal, and I’m going to continue leaving a legacy if I can. If I have to go on a couple more losing streaks and then get a win at the last minute, so be it, because the day when I go for that jury trial, that may be my only win.
Is there anything else you’d like to say to your fans or anybody else who’s been following this story?
I’d like to apologize to my cousin, because he didn’t know what was going on, and neither did I when the Mentone police tried to set us up outside of a grocery store. [Matthew Haag] was in jail with me, and he’s facing a year in prison; he had a probation violation on top of these charges. And I did see Sarah [Hein], she was in jail for a little bit, and then they released her and now she’s free, as far as I know.
When you go in front of a jury trial and there’s no evidence whatsoever, and it’s pointing fingers, “he said she said,” and if it comes down to two kids sitting on the stand, and their mother has convinced them to cry their eyes out because they’ve been threatened like “if you don’t do this, you’ll never see your dad again” — I’m afraid those kids can get on the stand and put a good act on for the prosecutor, and they can sentence somebody to life.
Well good luck, Scott. I hope justice can be served.
I do too, for the sake of my two kids. And I do have another son, who’s about nine months old, and they came after me for child support while I was in jail, so now I have to worry about that as well. So I’m going to try to find some work and continue fighting part-time. I have some fighters who are still fighting, one’s 6-2 and the other guy’s 2-3, so I want to continue helping them along the way.
Update: In a follow-up interview, Blevins clarified his statement, telling us that he was actually accused of molesting Brian’s daughter, not his own. The charges were later dismissed.