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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 arrested on 29,726 fabricated charges of child sex abuse involving 60 children.
Parents, Sunday school teachers and a local pastor were 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 new definition."
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. However, civil cases have found the city of Wenatchee and Douglas County 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 awards.
Last week Spokane County Superior Court Judge Michael Donohue 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 in 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. Lowry's requests.
Liberals do not doubt that public officials can be trusted with power, but liberals know that parents cannot be trusted with children.
This misplaced confidence is responsible for the miscarriage of justice in Wenatchee.
Will your community be next?
Paul 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 Brimelow's Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts about the recent epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.
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