From: R.J.Whiston <>

To: a Ivor Catt <>

Cc: Hillary Seddon <>

Subject: Fw: ACFC: Falsely accused pair win judgment

Date: 07 August 2001 01:18

Dear Ivor,

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.


-----Original Message-----

From: ACFC Website <>

To: <>

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

>Wenatchee clients.


> Representatives for the city and county could not be reached for



>[Background: ]


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