NORTHWEST FEMINIST ANTI-CENSORSHIP TASKFORCE
12345 LAKE CITY WAY NE
SEATTLE, WA 98125
March 27, 1996
We are sending the following press release to you because we know you
share our commitment to civil rights and democracy. A terrible injustice is
taking place in the state of Washington. Over twenty people were accused
of sexually abusing children. Many of the people accused were unable to
defend themselves, either through poverty or diminished ability to
understand the charges against them. Those who were able to mount an
effective defense have been acquitted, and are now suing the government
officials who prosecuted them.
In response, the journalists who brought this story to the world, and who
continue to publicize the behavior of officials, have been subpoenaed and
all the material they collected in their investigation is being demanded be
turned over. Please read the following press release and pass it on to all the
organizations you know who defend the rights of journalists and activists to
publicize government injustices whenever and wherever they occur.
Much more information on this case is available on our webpages and links
at http://www.aa.net/~nw-fact/. Please publicize this outrage as widely as
possible to prevent Kathryn Lyon from going to jail to protect her sources.
Thank you very much,
PRESS RELEASE SUMMARY MARCH 26, 1996
RE: POLICE SEEK JOURNALIST RECORDS OF
WENATCHEE SEX SCANDAL
Kathryn Lyon, author of The Wenatchee Report, will resist a subpoena for
deposition and for the production of records by Wenatchee Police Officer
Robert Perez at a hearing to be held Monday, April 1, 1996 at 9:00 a.m. in
Thurston County Superior Court, 2000 Lakeridge Drive S.W., Bldg. 2,
Olympia, Washington. (Civil Motions Docket.) Perez is expected to be
present. At issue will be journalistic privilege and US and Washington State
Constitutional issues of privilege and free speech. Pleadings filed in support
of Lyon's motion include declarations by best-selling true crime author,
Jack Olsen, and by Trevor Armbrister, journalist and staff senior editor for
Reader's Digest. The question of whether journalistic privileges should
apply to a nonfiction book and free-lance journalistic writings is likely to
be appealed as it is of constitutional magnitude and may be a question of
first impression in the state.
The following may be reprinted in whole or in part.
Kathryn Lyon can be reached at: Phone (360) 866-8157;
Fax (360) 867-0801.
POLICE SEEK JOURNALIST RECORDS OF
WENATCHEE SEX SCANDAL
Wenatchee Police Officer Robert Perez has subpoenaed many of the
notes, video and audio tapes, and other documents in the possession of
Kathryn Lyon, author of "The Wenatchee Report", a 200 page investigative
report which documented alleged civil rights violations by Wenatchee
government officials in their prosecution of multiple sex "ring" cases in
Wenatchee over the last two years. The Wenatchee Report was considered
by U.S. Attorney Janet Reno who recently declined a federal investigation
into the allegations. Lyon was subpoenaed for deposition on February 2,
1996, just hours after the Reno decision. Also subpoenaed were KREM
Television newsman, Tom Grant, and Bob Kinkaide, a Wenatchee citizen
who independently investigated the Wenatchee cases and gathered extensive
documentation. Together the three were responsible for much of the
national public awareness of the controversial prosecutions.
Lyon will attempt to resist the subpoena at a hearing to be held Monday,
April 1, 1996 at 9:00 a.m. in Thurston County Superior Court. Pleadings
filed by Lyon's attorneys include declarations by Trevor Armbrister,
journalist and staff senior editor for Reader's Digest, and by Jack Olsen,
best-selling true crime writer. Olsen and Armbrister support applying
journalistic privileges to Ms. Lyon's reports and other writing projects.
Armbrister, who was recently in Wenatchee investigating for an upcoming
feature in Reader's Digest, said in his declaration that the attempt to
subject Lyon to submit to deposition and production of documents
"constitutes an outrage." Armbrister added, "The parties requesting the
deposition know what has been happening in Wenatchee; it is their silence
and refusal to face unpleasant truths which has compelled courageous
journalists...to proceed with their work."
Lyon contends that the subpoena and deposition are thinly-veiled
attempts to silence her, concerned Wenatchee citizens and other
investigative journalists. At issue is the need to protect confidential sources
and confidential information, Lyon says, and adds that many of her sources
may be in danger of prosecution or other retaliatory action if their
statements to her are provided in full to Wenatchee government officials.
She fears that, in the future, Wenatchee citizens will refuse to come
forward to journalists about past and ongoing government actions.
"Deposing a journalist would discourage the free flow of information to
the public, said Steven Hemmat who, along with Thomas Nast, is Lyon's
attorney. "A journalist should not be compelled to serve as a private
investigator to a prosecutor in a civil suit."
Lyon contends that there are recent examples that suggest oppression by
the Wenatchee government including the forced temporary closure of a
Wenatchee America On-Line site because it contained court documents
negative to Perez, and evidence that Wenatchee police keep dossiers on
Wenatchee residents who write or speak out in criticism of the Wenatchee
government. According to Lyon, sources tell her they are increasingly
afraid to come forward if they think what they say may be published.
There is evidence that multiple-victim child sex abuse prosecutions are
ongoing in Wenatchee. James Osborn, an unmarried Wenatchee
drug/alcohol counselor who recently applied for a foster care license for a
teenage girl, was charged last week by Wenatchee prosecutors with nine
counts of Communicating With a Minor for Immoral Purposes in
connection with three teenage girls.
Courtesy of Fathers' Manifesto.
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