From: R.J.Whiston <email@example.com>
To: a Ivor Catt <Ivorcatt@electromagnetism.demon.co.uk>
Cc: Hillary Seddon <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Fw: ACFC: Falsely accused pair win judgment
Date: 07 August 2001 01:18
This is the case that John Knight brought to our attention a long time ago.
It also ties in with your concept of compensation crippling the state.
From: ACFC Website <email@example.com>
To: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>
Date: 06 August 2001 00:17
Subject: ACFC: Falsely accused pair win judgment
>Thanks to Frank Lindley for sending us the following.
>The Washington Times
>Falsely accused pair win judgment
>By Valerie Richardson
>August 4, 2001
> Six years after a police child-sex-ring investigation spread terror
>through the rural apple-picking community of Wenatchee, Wash., those
>wrongly accused of holding satanic rituals involving rape and molestation
>are finally starting to see the money.
> On Tuesday, a Spokane County jury awarded $3 million to a Wenatchee
>couple, Honnah and Jonathan Sims, caught up in the now-discredited
>sex-ring allegations. The award is the largest to date in a case that has
>been compared to the Salem witch trials of the 17th century.
> "There is no doubt that child sex abuse happens, and it is tragic,"
>said John Stocks, an attorney who represented the Simses and three other
>defendants during the trial. "It is also tragic that people can be falsely
>accused of crimes and to go that far in the system without the checks and
>balances ferreting them out."
> The latest award brings to about $6 million court-ordered damages
>stemming from lawsuits brought so far by dozens of plaintiffs seeking to
>clear their names and pin the blame on the Wenatchee police department,
>the Douglas County Sheriff's Office and the state Child Protective
> The Wenatchee case is considered the largest of several
>child-sex-abuse investigations since 1980 that have since been found to be
>based on coerced testimony from children. The jury foreman in one
>Wenatchee trial called the probe a "witch hunt," and the Seattle
>Post-Intelligencer described it as a "thoroughly discredited
> Still, winning monetary damages hasn't been easy, even for those who
>spent years in prison on false charges and saw their children placed in
>foster care. Before the Simses could win the award, they first had to
>change state law.
> In 1998, a Seattle judge dismissed the Wenatchee plaintiffs' claims
>against law-enforcement authorities, saying state law prohibited them from
>being charged with negligence. Later, the state Supreme Court declined to
>review a court of appeals ruling that such agencies could be held liable
>for financial damages resulting from their child-abuse investigations.
>That ruling cleared the way for Tuesday's decision, which found county and
>city law enforcement agencies negligent on 14 counts.
> In a mixed verdict, however, the jury decided against awarding
>damages to three of the plaintiffs: Pentecostal Minister Robert "Roby"
>Roberson; his wife, Connie; and Donna Rodriguez. The plaintiffs had been
>seeking between $12 million and $20 million.
> Chris Hrycenko, the presiding juror, said the jury decided that while
>law enforcement had been to blame for the harm in the Sims' case, it
>wasn't the "proximate cause" for negligence for the other plaintiffs.
> The difference was that Mrs. Sims, a Sunday school teacher at the
>Pentecostal Church in East Wenatchee, had to endure months of hearings
>that she was a suspect in the child-abuse investigation. Fearful of having
>her son taken away from her, she sent him to stay with relatives in
>Kansas. Once arrested, she was strip-searched and spent eight days in
> "She [Honnah Sims] was scared. She didn't know when she was going to
>be arrested, and people all around here were being arrested," said Mrs.
>Hrycenko. "She shipped her child to live in Kansas so the Child Protective
>Services wouldn't take him. Then she went to jail and was strip-searched,
>and we didn't feel that was appropriate."
> The investigation was spearheaded by Detective Robert Perez, whose
>foster daughter and her sister were the source of much of the testimony
>against adults at the Pentecostal Church in East Wenatchee. In all, 43
>persons were arrested on child-molestation charges in connection with the
> Mr. Perez has since left the Wenatchee police department and has said
>that he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from the
>investigation, sources said. He has been named in several civil suits,
>although he has never been convicted of a crime.
> Most of the accused were women. Many were poor and uneducated, and a
>few were considered mentally handicapped. Many saw their children placed
>in foster care or sent them out of the state to avoid having them taken
>away by authorities. All of the accused have since been freed from jail,
>either because they were acquitted by juries or because they agreed to
>plead to lesser, unrelated charges in order to win release quickly.
> The urgency of the case led to the creation of Innocence Project
>Northwest, a pro bono, legal-aid organization begun by lawyers and
>students at the University of Washington Law School. Lawyers affiliated
>with the project were instrumental in winning the release of many
> Representatives for the city and county could not be reached for
>[Background: http://seattlep-i.nwsource.com/powertoharm/ ]
>Copyright 2001 News World Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.
>Washington Times Home: http://www.washtimes.com/
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