Initially placed together, state caseworkers separated the children to prevent them from "sexually acting out amongst themselves.". A friend of Perez's foster daughter claimed that on one occasion, "Pastor Roby" asked the girl into his shag-carpeted office off the sanctuary. Victim Rikki Olds, 25, was a "strong, independent" young woman who worked at the grocery store, her uncle, Robert Olds, told ABC News. She was sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison; he received 23 years. Perez said he wouldn't, couldn't, discuss it over the phone. He rose quickly, becoming a detective trainee only three years after being sworn in. Criminal prosecutions in Washington state, U.S. hysteria over child molestation in the 1980s, Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award, "The imaginary "sex rings" in Wenatchee, WA", Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, "Other Well-Known Cases | Innocence Lost | FRONTLINE | PBS", "Pastor and Wife Are Acquitted on All Charges in Sex-Abuse Case", "Jury finds city, county negligent in child sex ring case", "Book Review - 'Witch Hunt: A True Story of Social Hysteria and Abused Justice', "Afterward: Freedom is never the same for those who've been to prison on phony charges", "Last case settled in botched sex ring case", "Children sacrificed for the case: Allegations set up a puzzle of doubtful ethics, dubious facts", "CNN - Pastor, wife acquitted in child sex trial - Dec. 12, 1995", "The ghost won't lie still: Ten years after first arrest, 'sex-ring' episode still haunts the community | Local News", "WENATCHEE SEX RING: Questions resurface about 'witch hunt', "TV Station Ordered To Turn Over Tape: Judge Says Krem-TV Violated Girl's Rights In Wenatchee Sex Ring Case | The Spokesman-Review", "Wenatchee: Sex Probe Tests Truth and Trust", "The Unraveling of a Monstrous Secret -- Sex-Abuse Scandal Has Wenatchee Reeling", "Sex Case A 'Wenatchee Witch Hunt' Some Incidents of Incest Were Uncovered but There's Been No Proof of Group Child Abuse", "Cameo Garrett: Wenatchee Mentality: Conversation with Robbi Roberson", "Who is Abusing the Children of Wenatchee? , Those once accused filed lawsuits against the authorities who once prosecuted them. Cited in numerous civil suits still pending against the city of Wenatchee, Detective Robert Perez retired on disability. The case resulted in changes in state law regarding foster care, sex-abuse investigation and mental-health institutionalization involving children, but Perez had no regrets. Sometimes they would all meet at the Pentecostal Church of God House of Prayer in East Wenatchee, where Pastor Roby Roberson and his wife, Sister Connie, ministered to the poor and downtrodden. Bob Perez died last Thursday at Central Washington Hospital, according to. Reams of legal papers are bound in bright red files, dog-eared and smudged now, from handling by members of the news media. . + Subscribe for $1 for the first month Kinkade knows what it feels like to be charged with sexual abuse. . In 2021, Maria Gutierrez alleged an Arlington police officer tore her rotator cuff. . . Local authorities alleged that dozens of children were raped in the bedrooms of their parents, in the homes of their neighbors, and at ritualized orgies on the altar of a church. On March 13, 1995, Perez put Donna in his police car with two social services caseworkers and they drove through Wenatchee and East Wenatchee. In court documents, psychiatrists and social workers describe Idella Everett as having an IQ of 68; as sexually abused, first by her stepfather, and then by her husband, Harold; as "incapable of protecting herself, much less her children.".  Perez died in 2013 at age 60. The suspect, who was reportedly living on the USS Kidd, is accused of fatally hitting a pedestrian and fleeing the scene. .  The main witness was Perez' foster daughter; Perez was the investigator of the cases. Miller's confession was corroborated by her ex-husband, Larry Steinborn. Other siblings confirmed the story. Directions Physical Address: View Map 250 N Ventura Road Port Hueneme, CA 93041. . On this Wikipedia the language links are at the top of the page across from the article title. There is no interrogation room, so officers question suspects at their desks, which are arranged in two short rows in a drab gray room. Perez, 60, of Waterville died on Dec.. When the Department of Social and Health Services initially granted the license in 1987, Devereaux was married. The interviews took place at the children's schools or foster homes. That was enough. Detective Robert W. Williamson 5/13/2007. His investigation, with state Child Protective Services agents, ensnared 42 Chelan and Douglas County residents, 28 of whom were convicted or pleaded guilty, the newspaper reported. Donna, now 40,. Their marriage on the rocks, Cherie and her husband were rarely intimate - although, on occasion they would have sex together with the boys. Defense attorneys questioned the foundation of the charges, citing physician diagnoses that revealed "the alleged victims suffered from various forms of psychological problems including attention-deficit disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychotic disorders and other impairments.". The wake it leaves behind is never-ending. The state ferry system still faces crew shortages and a diminishing, aging fleet of green-and-white workhorses. She responded, "I only did it twice.. . Her boyfriend rushed to the store parking lot in hopes of . Detective Perez brought L.R.H. A second set of files is kept by Chelan County Prosecutor Gary Riesen, whose office is down the hall, just past the Superior Court chambers where the fates of the accused are to be decided. Justice isnt a task that ends, it is ongoing and those seeking it can never rest. . she said during an interview at the Washington Correctional Facility for Women near Purdy, where she is to spend the next 40 years. Quotes displayed in real-time or delayed by at least 15 minutes. Distraught, Devereaux responded, "My life is ruined, okay, I did it.  In 1995, after Pastor Robert Roberson criticized the investigation, he was arrested and charged with eleven counts of the sexual abuse of a child. According to police records, Cherie Town was advised of her rights but chose to "cooperate.".  In September 1995, Grant wrote, "Now I know what it's like to be falsely accused. " In 2001, a jury found the city of Wenatchee and Douglas County, Washington negligent in the 1994-1995 investigations. A. Then 54 and divorced, Devereaux had five adolescent girls in his care. 4, No. The 1994 . The court also vacated orders dismissing Detective Robert Perez and Wenatchee Police Chief Kenneth Badgley, on the ground substantial justice required it. Van Blaricom, hired by a city insurer who looked into how the Wenatchee police ran the child abuse investigations, stated that the cases were handled properly. Now in their late teens, the former witnesses have publicly declared that none of the crimes they . Captain Michael D'Angelo Garigan; Gove County Sheriff's Office, Kansas. Many people were horrified, almost grief-stricken by the sex scandal; others were beginning to think police, and Perez in particular, were manufacturing charges. Several are illiterate. In police custody, Devereaux repeatedly denied abusing the girls, saying they would often come on to him but he always ignored the behavior or took steps to stop it. Unable to afford the $1,000,000 bail for each, they were held in jail where Robert was beaten. Many of the adults arrested as a result. If I had to speculate, I believe one of the Seven Deadly Sins was at playPride. Forty hours sitting in a classroomspread over three days? In Cherie Town's book, it was wrong for her husband to be messing around with other women. Q. at the very least, I wanted an extradition process between them and Perez.". Even in plain clothes, Perez looks formidable. . "Chip" Small (judge in the Roberson case) and Carol Wardell (judge in earlier cases) with professional misconduct.  By 2000, the last person in custody, Michael Rose, was released, after a judge vacated his March 1995 convictions. A 35-year-old mother of four, Linda Miller, was picked up by police in March on suspicion of child abuse as she tried to cross into Canada.  Some higher courts agreed, so those who were convicted were freed and had their convictions overturned or pleaded guilty on lesser charges. Heres whats happening at the mid-point of the 2023 session of the Washington Legislature. . And Idella, threatened with a beating from her husband, had held the children down, then molested them herself. What kind of perception do you think a story like this leavesthe American people? 11th Ave & Broadway . The Holts' daughter even told officers where the videos were kept, but Bagdley said his officers did not find any tapes. Rose, then 26, maintained his innocence. Melinda Everett's civil lawsuit says the Department of Social and Health Services should not have placed her in the home of former Wenatchee police detective Robert Perez. The adults got to know each other playing darts at a nearby tavern; the kids, on the walk to school. " Lyon described the prosecutions as "a great example of a social phenomenon that we haven't seen since Salem or the McCarthy era". Detective Armando Perez has worked for the police force in many different units. 10/25/2004. Every person alleged to have been part of "The Circle" is poor, some desperately so. "But I was not willing to have my wife and 5-year-old son picked up, interrogated and God knows what . - Drive continuous improvement and efficiency in the accounting and master data processes for NA Hub. On a sticky-hot July afternoon, about three months after the Towns were arrested, Perez knocked on Laura Holt's door. , In 1999, the Washington state legislature passed the "Perez Bill" which required child abuse investigators to keep accurate records of their interviews and forbade them from investigating cases involving their own children. The day after Cherie Town called the Rape Crisis Center, Perez stopped by briefly. Twenty-four witnesses testified as to the facts of . From there it's three blocks to the Wenatchee police station, a cramped stone building constructed in the early 1930s. All rights reserved. Legal Statement.  The Roberson's 5-year-old daughter testified that her parents never abused her, so Judge T. W. Small dismissed two charges that they had. Rattling off names, the girl referred to the group as "The Circle." He was sentenced to 80 months. Her statement implicated a slate of other adults, some of whom she now says she does not know. Donna pointed out houses and buildings . (Court's Memorandum Decision on Reference Hearing, Ct. Rec. Supported by interviews with other children, it appeared a hellish pact had been made among neighbors. Detective Robert Arredondo.  Manuel Hidalgo Rodriguez, convicted in 1995, was awarded $2.9 million from his defense attorney Ed Stevensen, who took a job with the prosecutor 3 weeks after losing his case, but in the end received $689,000. "The adults undressed and got in line and took turns with everybody. The investigation began in January 1995 when Detective Robert Perez was told by his 13-year-old foster daughter, Donna Perez, that she had been sexually molested. In newspapers and on television, he accused Perez of being on a power trip, of leading child witnesses into making false accusations, of trampling on suspects' constitutional rights and bullying adults into signing confessions. He spent his youth in Guadalajara, Mexico, where his father attended Medical School. Word was out that Meredith Town was preparing to skip Wenatchee and take his boys to El Dorado, Kan. Luci Perez, wife of Det. He brought shame onto Lady Justice andonall those people who fight for justice every day. Focus was directed towards other employees. Sheriff Allan Joseph Weber; Grafton County Sheriff's Department, New Hampshire. And then there were the statements of the Holt children. Sergeant Michael B. Wagner 4/27/2007. If I were an investigator charged with investigating the cases today, Id do it exactly the same way, Perez said in 2004. The family lived from welfare check to welfare check. Information from: The Wenatchee World, http://www.wenatcheeworld.com. , Grant said that three defendants were arrested shortly after sharing their criticism of these cases with him. Roberson had been looking into whether Perez was railroading poor, uneducated people into jail and had publicly spoken against the arrest of people like Harold and Idella Everett, who sometimes attended the church. Wenatchee Update. but, in my 20 years of experience I've found it extremely unusual for a child to fabricate such accusations from whole cloth," said psychiatrist Roland Summit, who has been a consultant on several high-profile sex abuse trials, including the McMartin day-care case in Los Angeles. He has twice been tried on charges of molesting his stepdaughter. People who know and like Perez say he is a dedicated officer, that he is often stern but can be a "teddy bear" of a man.  Eventually all those accused in these cases were released, and the authorities paid damages to some of those originally accused. Police later accused him of failing to report abuse and obstructing justice, prompting an internal Department of Social and Health Services investigation. Yes, exonerations were ultimately achieved, but the fabric of so many lives was torn so violently, thosechildren and adultscan never go back to what they were before. Ultimately, 29,726 charges of child molestation were lodged. The investigation found that Perez coerced suspects, many poor and developmentally disabled, into making false confessions, and coached testimony from witnesses. It is responsible for providing police service to an area encompassing 468 square miles and 21 community areas, representing approximately over 4 million residents as of 2022. Traffic was backed up for 5 miles Thursday morning. Most of the girls sent to the Devereauxs were victims of sexual abuse - some were withdrawn and frightened, others aggressive and angry. 09/22/2004. He was found not guilty on two charges; the jury was hung on three others.  Reporter Tom Grant broadcast part of her recantation on KREM-TV. The shed appeared to have fallen off a semi truck, according to the Snohomish County Sheriffs Office. The idea that the same 50 children could be routinely sodomized by the same two dozen adults year after year is so horrific it gives rise to disbelief. As the citys chief sex crimes investigator, Perez arrested dozens of Wenatchee Valley adults between 1994 and 1995 on suspicion of sexually abusing children, sometimes in bizarre, ritualistic fashion. Kenneth Lanning, the FBI's child-abuse specialist, has advised against taping, saying it creates a "highly subjective piece of evidence.". As in life, if you stand by and let injustice take place, blame is on you as well. Attempting to leave Wenatchee quietly, he stopped by the Douglas County sheriff's office to purchase a trip permit for his rig. I'm lying.". Go to Fox Nationto start a free trial and watch the extensive library from your favorite Fox News personalities. Detective Second Grade Kevin G. Hawkins 5/7/2007. Then a 15-year-old girl, in juvenile detention for allegedly trying to poison Devereaux and a foster sister, accused him of rape. After seeking refuge for her children in a "safe house," Miller saw to it that Steinborn went to jail. But Wenatchee police Detective Robert Perez, the foster father . . "It is extremely easy for a child, especially when traumatized, to create false memories . Interviewed in jail, where she is being held in lieu of $50,000 cash-only bail, Miller now claims her confession was coerced. My god, I could never do those things. Quotes displayed in real-time or delayed by at least 15 minutes. To watchIn the Valley of Sin' and 'Crime Stories with Nancy Grace,'sign up onFox Nationtoday. App. The detective responsible for the witch hunt, Robert "Bob" Perez, having incarcerated 43 adults with almost 30,000 counts of child rape and molestation, had become the lead detective of the. If true, "The Circle" would have likely gone down as one of the most egregious cases of crimes in American history; instead, whats egregious is that it had been entirely made up at the hands of law enforcement. The City's investigation began after a foster child in the home of Wenatchee Police Detective Robert Perez claimed that she and other children had been sexually abused while attending the family's East Wenatchee church. Robert Arredondo has been with the Dallas Police Department for over 12 years, with just a little of a year in homicide. She reportedly confirmed that Michael Rose and Randall Reed, drinking buddies of her husband who bunked with the family for a time, had also sexually abused the boys. I didn't know he'd have such a sick mind.". Defense attorneys put Wenatchee police detective Bob Perez on the stand as a hostile witness and tried to undermine his credibility. Such events were by this point no longer new in this small city where, it was reported, Wenatchee's Child Protective Services workers and police Detective Robert Perez had jointly succeeded in . Following this, he was "accused, indirectly, of committing some of the same crimes". By 2004, the city of Wenatchee had paid out more than $7 million in jury awards and settlements to claimants who were falsely accused. WENATCHEE - There is right, and there is wrong. Of the cases that ended in convictions or guilty pleas, 18 were thrown out or overturned on appeal after Perezs tactics were investigated by a specially appointed appellate judge. 22, Ex. Fox Nation'sIn the Valley of Sindocumentsthe perseverance and resilience of the accused and their supporters in the face of overwhelming odds, untold suffering, and unthinkable accusations.  The city was fined almost as much during the civil trial for withholding evidence. Laura Carrione is an Editor with Fox News Digital, spearheading editorial coverage for Fox Nation features and premieres. "There are countless suggestive forces," she said. Perez found the older boy, who is mentally disabled, eager to please but very afraid of what might happen if his father found out "he told." Sheriff Robert C. Ynclan; Gordon County Sheriff's Office, Georgia.  Sixteen adults entered Alford pleas; most of these were poor or "functionally retarded". . They entered Alford pleas, the process by which defendants maintain innocence but acknowledge they would be found guilty at trial. Seattle Times staff reporter Dee Norton contributed to this report. Eventually, both Cherie and Meredith Town bowed to punishment. Nicolas Ferrel-Ibarra. She was convicted by a jury and sentenced to 23 years in prison. Would you consider this one the earliest instances of "fake news" weve seen? - Lead Detective Controls audits processes, coordinate testing and audits with internal audit team. The allegations strained credulity but not then, nor later, did Perez or his superiors consider the children might be embroidering the truth. The next day Devereaux was notified that his foster care license had been suspended. "The fabric of so many lives was torn so violently.". The younger boy, located at school, gave a similar account. Advertisement. "Fact is, people find this kind of thing very difficult to believe.  Many poor and intellectually disabled suspects pled guilty, while those who hired private lawyers were acquitted. He wasn't halfway through the forms when a sheriff's deputy announced he was under arrest. He even suggested the detective is a bit shady. Perez didn't believe Devereaux and told him so. 6, No. Still, the foundation of the increasingly complicated and bizarre case was the children's testimony. Neither Perez nor his superiors will comment on the specific charges. Then a tip came from the Holts' former landlady. The trouble did not end there. In March, with her parents in prison, the Everett child began making new allegations: Dozens of adults had regularly forced her and countless other children to have sex. Authorities alleged that Miller and her former husband, Larry Steinborn, were members of "The Circle.". The Wenatchee disaster has created great distrust for law enforcement in general. Wenatchee was in shock. Even as the middle-class widens, the divide remains. Perez, 60, of Waterville died on Dec. 12 at Central Washington Hospital of stroke-related complications, The Wenatchee World reported Wednesday. More than 40 adults have been charged, and 28 are in prison, as a result of an investigation led by Wenatchee Police detective Robert Perez, who has been criticized for his methods, including a . Five served their full sentences before their cases were overturned. , The investigation began in January 1995 when Detective Robert Perez was told by his 13-year-old foster daughter, Donna Perez, that she had been sexually molested. DI Jimmy Perez and his team investigate crimes within the close knit island community of Shetland. IT BEGAN AS a case involving one man raping his two young boys. She told him she had been angry with her foster father for spying on her, for putting her on restriction after catching her having sex with a boyfriend. , Critics maintained that these cases were mishandled by the police and proper protocol was not followed when interviewing the children. 928, 83 P.3d 1026 (2004). Perez claimed in the lawsuit that he was retaliated against by City Manager Rob Mayes and former police chiefs James Runnels and Kyle Westall after he provided a deposition in a former sergeants'. ", Perez went back to the kids, accompanied by a Child Protective Services investigator. It did not take long for Perez to get a confession from Idella Everett, who said her husband had threatened her if she did not go along with the abuse of the children. The woman owned a second rental house and believed the tenant, Dorris Green, had left her children with the Holts, knowing there was abuse going on. Bob Perez, driving force in discredited sex abuse cases, dies Jefferson Robbins Dec 18, 2013 Sections Local News Northwest News Sports Arts & Entertainment Education Housing Crisis Webcams Buy Now Former Wenatchee police detective Bob Perez in 1998. "She said she was mad, that she lied, that Perez encouraged her . Ever since this page published details of the spree of child abuse prosecutions in the town of Wenatchee, Washington, readers have been calling . It was the touching thing, the `wild thing.' As a police officer he did his very best to serve his community, Magnotti said. Harold Everett had raped her and at least one sister and brother. , Concerned Citizens for Legal Accountability, formed to ask for an outside investigation, filed a complaint with the state Commission on Judicial Conduct criticizing judges T.W. " Grant first used the term "witch hunt" to describe these cases in March, 1995. Her confession, together with statements by Perez' foster daughter and a 13-year-old friend, bound together the various abuse cases. "Finally, I just told him to write whatever . Some time later, she began "having fun" with her older, mentally disabled child. Rafael Perez: The Man Who Inspired Denzel Washington's Oscar-Winning Role. Retired police sergeant Mike Magnotti said protecting children was the first priority for Perez. There is medical evidence to support some charges of sexual molestation. The verdict came after 3 1/2 hours of deliberations. Perez was in charge of interviewing the more than 40. Kinder critics said police, immersed in wretched detail, had failed to consider the children might be telling tales, exaggerating or even fabricating accounts of sexual abuse. That we must always remain ever vigilant. Robert Devereaux Roberson Family The Everett Family Possible reasons for unethical work. His dreams came true and he became a K9 officer.  In 1997, KREM and Grant won an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award "for Investigative Reporting on the Wenatchee Child Sex Ring. Down at the station, seated alongside the detective's desk, Cherie Town answered questions for a long time. Nearly all the children interviewed by police came from impoverished, troubled homes. The first time it happened, Rose and Reed were supposed to be keeping the boys out of harm's way while she was downtown talking to her husband about a divorce. Glassen's supervisor reportedly passed the information on to her husband, a deputy prosecuting attorney, who passed it on to Perez. ", "FMSF Newsletter - November/December, 1995 - Vol. Others compared the investigation to the Spanish Inquisition. On March 13, 1995, Perez put Donna in his police car with two social services caseworkers and they drove through Wenatchee and East Wenatchee. They deny any of it ever happened.  Perez's foster daughter later recanted and apologized to Roberson, claiming that Perez had pressured her. Luci Perez called her husband, who, together with a Child Protective Services investigator, asked the child to repeat her story: Her father, Harold Everett, was manipulative and cruel; and her mother, Idella, was weak and abusive. At the end of Dead to Me season 1, Jen killed Judy's ex Steve (James Marsden) in part because she was scared of him and in part . Police Officer Sean A. McDonald 3/15/1994. Police records say the youngster was forthcoming, confirming that his father raped him and forced him to perform oral sex. Some children were abused in Wenatchee, that much is certain.