Spokane television reporter Tom Grant knew he struck a nerve when supporters of the Wenatchee sex ring investigation labeled him a child molester.
After several critical broadcasts, a group of foster parents friendly to Wenatchee Police Detective Bob Perez began calling Grant names.
One woman at a meeting of foster parents remembered a mother saying of Grant: “He’s a pervert, he’s a child molester.”
Several foster mothers nodded in agreement. The woman didn’t want her name used out of fears she herself would be accused of abuse.
Grant, 42, of KREM-2, may be under investigation by the Washington Department of Social and Health Services, the Wall Street Journal reported last month, citing an unnamed high official.
Journal editorial writer Dorothy Rabinowitz, who has made a career out of debunking group sex rings, cited Grant’s two hours of cumulative coverage - considered exhaustive in TV journalism - as an “unrelenting, generally remarkable expose.”
Grant said he has confirmed with a state source that a Spokane TV reporter “could be under investigation,” but believes the accusation is designed only to discredit him.
He remains unfazed.
“In this case there’s a tremendous history of retaliation,” said the Tonasket, Wash., native. “There seems to be a hysteria that’s driving this case and not the facts.”
Outside media coverage of the case is turning so nasty, police have clammed up and are referring calls to Chelan County Prosecutor Gary Riesen.
“We like the stories where we don’t get dumped on,” Riesen said. “Those East Coast reporters can make you look like a complete goober.”