July 25, 1995 in City

Petition Calls For Grand Jury In Child Sex Ring

Associated Press

Chelan County commissioners were presented Monday with a citizens’ petition requesting a grand jury probe of allegations that police intimidated witnesses and suspects in a child sexring case.

The county’s three commissioners sent the petition, signed by about 2,000 people, with an explanatory letter to the three Chelan County Superior Court judges, commission clerk Kathy Ward said.

The commission made no recommendation. The judges will decide whether to appoint a grand jury, Ward said.

.. we definitely have a perception problem with at least a share of the public,” Commissioner Tom Green said Monday.

Wenatchee police detective Sgt. Cherie Smith said Monday night that the department was confident a grand jury investigation would turn up nothing improper.

“It’s fine with us if there’s an investigation,” she said. “We feel our investigations are conducted in a professional manner, so we’re not concerned if they do choose to have an investigation.”

At least 23 adults have been charged since last fall with participating in two loosely organized sex rings, which authorities say have operated since 1988.

In 14 cases, defendants have pleaded guilty or been convicted of charges.

The petition was presented by a new group called Concerned Citizens for Legal Accountability.

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