Prosecutorial Abuse: The Wenatchee Witch Hunt Unravels Further
In 1995 I wrote the first of my 28 columns about the
Wenatchee, Washington, child sex abuse witch hunt.
Before national attention brought a halt to the worst
witch hunt in U.S. history, 43 adults were falsely
29,726 fabricated charges of child sex abuse
involving 60 children.
Parents, Sunday school teachers and a local pastor
indicted and many were convicted of raping their own
children and the children of other members of a
sex-ring. Innocent people were railroaded into prison,
and their children were sold into foster care.
The witch hunt, which devastated so many lives at
taxpayers` expense, was launched in 1994 when a Child
Protective Services supervisor told the local Wenatchee
office to find some cases to justify its budget.
A stench of evil hung about these cases. Not a scrap
of physical evidence of sex abuse was ever presented, an
extraordinary fact considering that the children, some
mere infants, had allegedly suffered an average of 495
rapes. One woman was charged with 3,200 counts of child
sex abuse, which I wrote at the time gave “nymphomania a
The cases were trumped up by Child Protective
Services officials with an eye on their budget and jobs
and by a police detective, Bob Perez, with the
complicity of local prosecutors, judges, and political
and media establishments. My early columns were greeted
with derision by the local radio station, KPQ, and
newspaper, the Wenatchee World.
The few witnesses in the cases, a single mother and
two young girls, later recanted in sworn court documents
and before TV audiences. The young girls described how
they were threatened and beaten, with one apparently
suffering a broken arm, by Perez, who used acts of
violence to coerce false accusations.
One young woman described how she was kidnapped by
Perez and locked up in a psychiatric facility, where a
“recovered memory” therapist gave her mind-altering
drugs in an attempt to get her to make
false accusations against her parents. The state
ACLU later verified her account.
In January 1997, single parent Michelle Kimble gave
sworn court testimony that Child Protective Services
officials Kate Carrow and Tim Abbey and detective Perez
coerced her on Dec. 17, 1996, into making false charges
against Pastor Roby Roberson, who had spoken out against
the witch hunt. Shortly thereafter she repeated on
NBC-TV that she was intimidated into making false
allegations by fear of being criminally charged herself
and having her son seized by Child Protective Services.
CPS caseworker Paul Glassen told how he was forced to
flee to Canada with his family when he was put on
Perez`s arrest list for
refusing to go along with the false accusations.
Despite these extraordinary revelations, Wenatchee
stood behind the false convictions.
Tom Grant, a local KREM 2 News TV reporter in Spokane
repeatedly exposed the frame-ups. Finally, the Seattle
Post-Intelligencer assigned two investigative
reporters to the story. In 1998 its series,
“the Power to Harm,” documented the
extraordinary violations of law, procedures, civil
rights and basic humanity by public officials.
Spurred by the revelations of lawlessness in the
system of criminal justice, the University of Washington
Law School formed the
Innocence Project Northwest, which has succeeded in
obtaining the release of every adult victim of the
false prosecutions. But spiteful public officials still
refuse to give the parents back their children.
None of the public officials who broke the law,
tampered with witnesses and fabricated evidence in
order to convict the innocent have been indicted.
civil cases have found the city of Wenatchee and
negligent in the child sex abuse cases, and
multi-million dollar judgments have been awarded. The
state Department of Social and Health Services and
Chelan County have settled other civil cases with large
Last week Spokane County Superior Court Judge Michael
reinstated Pastor Roberson`s civil lawsuit against
Wenatchee. Judge Donohue ruled that Wenatchee`s defense
lawyers had withheld documents and “blindsided and
misled the plaintiffs” and the court itself. Robert Van
Siclen, the attorney who successfully defended Pastor
Roberson from false child sex abuse charges, said:
“These are smoking gun documents.”
The Wenatchee witch hunt gained its opportunity from
a liberal mantra that 3 out of 4 children are subjected
to sex abuse by a parent, close relative or child care
provider. This mantra spawned federal legislation, Child
Protective Services (an unaccountable agency with
broad powers), an industry of child advocates and
therapists with financial incentives to find sex abuse
in Johnny`s football bruises, and special prosecutorial
units that need cases.
These mechanisms for the miscarriage of justice are
in place in every city and town in the U.S.
As early as October 3, 1995, Washington Governor Mike
Lowry requested U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno to send
a U.S. Attorney to investigate the Wenatchee child abuse
prosecutions. Miss Reno, whose own claim to fame resided
false child sex abuse prosecutions (now all
overturned) and who was kept on a short leash by Hillary
“it takes a village” Clinton, steadfastly refused Gov.
Liberals do not doubt that public officials can be
trusted with power, but
liberals know that parents cannot be trusted with
This misplaced confidence is responsible for the
miscarriage of justice in Wenatchee.
Will your community be next?
Craig Roberts is the author with Lawrence M. Stratton of
The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and
Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name
of Justice. Click
here for Peter
Magazine interview with Roberts about the recent
epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.