Posted July 6, 1998
Along with other problems the year 2000 may bring, American citizens will have new driver's licenses featuring their Social Security number as their national identification number.
In May of 1996, Congress passed The Immigrant Control and Financial Responsibility Act. The CHPA warned this would lead to a National ID card for all Americans. The law was intended to simplify tracking and control of immigrants, but buried inside was a section requiring states to bring their drivers licenses into compliance with new federal standards by October 1, 2000.
In 1994, due to a groundswell of reaction by Christians on the eve of their implementation, the EEOC was forced to withdraw proposed regulations to create a "religion free workplace." There is still time for concerned Americans to
stop the National ID.
* You may call and/or write your Congressman and send your comments in writing to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Send them in duplicate, under 15 pages, by 8/3/98 to:Docket No. NHTSA-98-3945, Docket Management Room
PL-401, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW, Washington, D.C. 20590. The docket number should be indicated on each page of your letter.
Early in the bizarre saga of a pastor and his flock in Wenatchee, Washington, The Capitol Hill Prayer Alert called for prayer. This Update is brought for your information and continued prayer. Reports of anti-Christian bias from Child Protection Services (CPS) around the country give cause for concern. Perhaps the eventual outcome of this tragic story will produce greater carefulness on the part of those with a hidden agenda. It will if we pray!
JURY RULES AGAINST WENATCHEE PREACHER
June 30, 1998
A jury ruled against a minister who said overzealous police violated his civil rights in a child sex investigation. The nine-woman, three-man jury in Seattle felt that state, county, and city authorities had probable cause to investigate Pentecostal minister Robert Roberson of Wenatchee, Washington, and six others, Roberson's attorney Robert Van Siclen said. The June 29 verdict was not unanimous, news reports said.
The 1995 investigation resulted in [over] 29,000 counts of sexual abuse leveled at 43 people. Fourteen were convicted or pleaded guilty, news reports said. Roberson and his wife were acquitted of abusing their daughter and other children in their church. "We lived the injustice, and we know the truth," Roberson's wife, Connie, said. "We're not going to stop fighting until these people are out of prison and vindicated. " The plaintiffs sought $60 million in damages. (www. ReligionToday. com)
CRITICS CALL FOR FEDERAL INVESTIGATION IN WENATCHEE SEX CASE
Excerpts from a story by Julia Duin
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
May 26, 1998
The road descending into this small Columbia River Valley town seems to be a pathway to serenity, winding past acres of apple orchards and steep river bluffs backed by bright green foothills leading to the jagged snowy peaks of the Cascade mountains.
But underneath the pastoral alpine setting lies the largest sex-abuse investigation in U. S. history; the Wenatchee "sex ring" arrests from 1992 to 1995 that hit 43 adults with 29,726 charges of child rape and molestation involving 60 children.
The investigation, however, has become almost as disturbing as the sex-related charges.
Called into question is why the nation's justice system may have failed in Wenatchee, where people confessed to crimes they now say they never committed; where children who once made the most heinous accusations of abuse now say it never occurred.
Tomorrow morning, a diverse group of activists meeting at the New York Academy of Sciences in Manhattan will ask Attorney General Janet Reno to investigate possible civil rights abuses in Wenatchee. They will also ask the Department of Health and Human Services to probe purported improprieties by child-abuse caseworkers. CBS' "60 Minutes" host Mike Wallace, playwright Arthur Miller of "The Crucible" fame; William Styron, the author of "Sophie's Choice"; columnist Nat Hentoff; and several lawyers and defendants involved in nationally known child abuse cases will speak.
The story in Wenatchee began with one girl, Melinda Everett, then 9, who told her school counselor two boys from school had touched her in her pubic area. Police and social workers decided there were other parties at fault -- namely, parents and neighbors and finally members of a Pentecostal church said to be part of multiple orgies.
Sixteen of the accused -- said to have committed their deeds while dressed in black robes and sunglasses -- remain in prison. They're there on totally trumped-up charges, say four plaintiffs --three of whom were acquitted and one whose case was dismissed --who have filed a $100 million lawsuit against Wenatchee and state officials for false child-abuse accusationsÖ
In the spring of 1995, Mr. Roberson and his wife, Connie, were charged on 10 counts each of rape of a child in the first degree. Before being cleared of all charges in December, they spent 135 days in jail. Mr. Roberson claims guards and inmates repeatedly beat him for being a "rapist preacher. " The whole state, it seemed, was disgusted as revelations of the "sex ring" filtered through the media. Twenty-eight persons -- most of them poor, Hispanic, illiterate, Pentecostal or mentally ill -- were charged.
Then on March 28, 1995, the Robersons were arrested.
This greatly distressed Bob Marcellus, now 54, a newly elected commissioner of Chelan County, which encompasses Wenatchee. A friend of the Robersons, he began to wonder if things had gone too far. County residents thought so, too. By July, 2,000 of them had signed a petition calling for a grand jury investigation.
"Those who were close to me told me this was political suicide," he [Marcellus] says, "and that it was an issue where I could not make a difference. " In September 1995, Kathryn Lyon, a lawyer from western Washington who had spent five months investigating the Wenatchee situation on her own, released a 200-page "Wenatchee Report. " It broke new ground, contending Wenatchee police Detective Bob Perez, prosecutors and social workers fomented a sexual hysteria by coercing confessions out of children and adults who were often deprived of food or medicine for hours until they talked. She also chronicled time after time when suspects said Mr. Perez told them that if they insisted on having an attorney present, he would jail them immediately. The report, and a simultaneous series of articles by the Wall Street Journal, got national play and the attention of then-Gov. Mike Lowry. Since then, numerous children have recanted their accusations.
Mr. Lowry asked Janet Reno to review the affair in 1996.
She declined to begin a federal investigation into Wenatchee, reasoning that the Justice Department did not have jurisdiction over these cases. But earlier this year, in light of a lengthy series in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Miss Reno said she might reconsider. "Does this mean," one department spokesman said Friday, "that we second-guess every prosecution in the country?" The Justice Department "didn't talk to prosecutors or witnesses of any kind" says Mrs. Lyon, who has also written "Witch Hunt," a book about the Wenatchee affair. "It was just a cursory review. " She lauded the speakers at tomorrow's meeting, saying, "These people understand the historical significance of Wenatchee and why it's so important to our society. It's the same phenomenon -- community hysteria -- that happened during the McCarthy era and the Salem witch trials. " Other than Mrs. Lyon's 470-page book, perhaps the most comprehensive report about Wenatchee was by the Post-Intelligencer, which assigned reporters Mike Barber and two-time Pulitzer winner Andrew Schneider to produce a massive five-part series explaining it all.
The upshot: Wenatchee has become the poster-child example of what can go wrong in a sex-abuse investigation.
The point man: Mr. Perez, the Wenatchee detective who took two of the children of accused sex abusers into his own home.
These two girls eventually came up with the bulk of the 29,000 rape charges involving dozens of adults said to be operating a sex ring in the church or in nearby homes.
Meanwhile, therapists or counselors who questioned Mr. Perez's methods were firedÖ
In March, Washington State Superior Court Judge Wallis Friel issued a 64-page decision criticizing police investigators and child welfare workers for wrongly jailing one set of parents, Harold and Idella Everett, after one of their daughters admitted she was pressured by Mr. Perez to implicate her parents.
Melinda Everett's confession, first taped by a Spokane, Wash., TV station in 1996, caused a sensation around the country and was the first conclusive proof critics had that much of the investigation may have been rigged. The Everetts now say they were coerced into plea-bargain agreements that led to a 23-year sentence for Mr. Everett and a five-year term for his wife. They have been in jail since November 1994. Judge Friel said the Everetts would be acquitted if another trial was held.
"When I came into office on Jan. 3, 1995, I had 100 percent confidence in our law and justice system," says Mr. Marcellus. "I assumed the law and justice system and social service system had plenty of checks and balances. I don't believe so today. " Wenatchee City Attorney Pat McMahon, who represents Mr. Perez as well as the city, did not return calls asking for comment.
"This has been a great educational process in this state," Mr. Browne says. "When people ask me, 'Why are you a defense lawyer?,' all I have to say to them is: 'Wenatchee.' The system wasn't working."