October 5, 1996 in City

Krem Loses First Round In Sex-Ring Suit Trial Over Videos Must Be Held In Douglas County

Nicholas K. Geranios Associated Press
 

A television station’s bid to block release of its videotapes, notes and phone logs related to the Wenatchee sex ring case was dealt a setback Friday.

A Spokane County judge ruled that he has no jurisdiction in the case against KREM-TV of Spokane, and cannot hear the station’s arguments against releasing the subpoenaed information.

Superior Court Judge Kenneth Kato ruled that motions regarding the materials must be heard in Douglas County, which has subpoenaed the material.

The main videotape is of an interview conducted with a 13-year-old girl at the home of Chelan County Commissioner Earl Marcellus.

During the June 3 interview, the girl recanted her earlier revelations about sex abuse. Marcellus faces misdemeanor charges of harboring a runaway.

“The action is in Douglas County, not here,” Kato ruled in denying a motion by KREM.

The television station might appeal Kato’s ruling, attorney Jessica Goldman said.

The station wants the court fight to occur in Spokane County court. Goldman argued that state law allows for the convenience of people who are not parties in a criminal case or lawsuit to have such hearings in their home counties.

Attorneys for Douglas County argued that rule applies only to depositions, when people are asked to testify at a distant court. In this case, the television station is being asked to produce materials, not testify, said Gordon Edgar, a deputy Douglas County prosecutor.

Edgar said prosecutors do not know what is on the station’s videotapes and other materials.

A court date has been set for Oct. 16 in Douglas County.

Tom Grant of KREM-TV, who reported many of the stories on the videotapes, said Douglas County prosecutors should be investigating the allegations by a 13-year-old girl that she was detained and struck by Wenatchee Police Investigator Bob Perez, a key figure in the case, rather than pursuing KREM’s tape.

The main videotape is of an interview Grant conducted with the girl at the home of Marcellus. During the June 3 interview, the girl recanted her earlier revelations about sex abuse.

The girl was the former foster daughter of Perez, who pushed many of the cases.

The girl testified against Pastor Roby Roberson, who was acquitted of the sex abuse charges.

The subpoena requested by Douglas County Prosecutor Steve Clem seeks all unedited audio and video recordings, notes, memos and logs from any interviews involving the sex ring case conducted by KREM in Douglas or Chelan counties between May 31 and June 4 of this year.

There were 28 people from the Wenatchee area charged with child rape and molestation as part of the emotional sex-rings investigation in the past few years.

xxxx WHY? The television station says the subpoena violates both freedom of the press and state law.


Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email