August 9, 1995 in City

Coroner’s Comments Anger Human Rights Groups “… That He’s A Public Official Is Just Scary”

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Spokane County Coroner Dexter Amend is a self-proclaimed homophobe who thinks gays and lesbians should be “condemned.”

He said so Tuesday, after revealing the autopsy reports on a 9-year-old murder victim that show she was sodomized for years prior to her death in June.

“Somebody played with this gal most of her life,” Amend said of Rachel Carver, a third-grader found beaten to death near the Spokane River on June 15. Social workers said the girl had been molested throughout her life.

“She’d been sodomized over and over and sodomy is a homosexual act. It is,” Amend said. “To have everybody thinking homosexuality is OK is a bunch of baloney.”

The coroner’s comments drew public outrage. Some members of Spokane’s gay community said they want to organize a recall against Amend.

Members of a local group called Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays said they were saddened by Amend’s ignorance on homosexuality.

“He’s using one more tragedy to push his own beliefs on people who may not know better,” said Craig Peterson, vice chairman of the city’s Human Rights Commission. “The gay and lesbian community may very well be targeted again because of this and it’s very sad.”

Ann Wood and her husband, the Rev. Charles Wood, said they were stunned when they heard the coroner’s comments. The couple has belonged to PFLAG for 10 years.

“He is nauseating,” Ann Wood said of Amend. “And the fact that he’s a public official is just scary.”

Charles Wood said the coroner should know only 2 percent of all child sex abuse cases involve homosexuals. More than half of the abusers are family members of the victim and nearly all are heterosexuals, he said.

“Chances are that child was probably never touched by a homosexual man,” Wood said. “Dr. Amend is woefully ignorant on this.”

The coroner said he never meant to imply a homosexual killed Carver. Her death was caused by a blow to the head and no physical evidence suggested she had been sexually assaulted just prior to the killing.

But the fact that she had been sodomized in the past “drove me up the wall,” Amend said. Since he is the only county official who has access to such reports, the coroner said he felt compelled to speak out.

“I don’t care what the political ramifications are on this. It’s a horrible, unbelievable thing that this child went through and they (homosexuals) destroyed her life,” Amend said.

The coroner said he believes only homosexuals engage in sodomy and “all they think about is sex and lust all the time. They had an innocent victim in (Carver) and they took advantage of her.”

Ann Wood, whose group represents about 300 gay and lesbian supporters, said the coroner should know that sodomy is just anal sex and “that’s not exclusive to homosexuals. This whole thing is appalling.”

Police said Rachel Carver’s uncle, Jason Wickenhagen, admitted to killing his niece at their North Side home. He was arrested the day Carver’s body was found in a cardboard box along the Aubrey L. White Parkway.

Wickenhagen, 23, was charged with first-degree murder and is being held in the Spokane County Jail.

, DataTimes


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