Who Is This "Predator" Who Sexually Assaults Children? Part XII

By Lawrence W. Daly, MSc

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen”
                                                                                                                       Winston Churchill

In 1991 in a small town in Chehalis, Washington a major child sexual case was begun in the heart of the educational program called Head Start. One of the teachers didn’t like the school bus driver, because of the way he looked. She called him a “Pedophile” and stated he was a threat to the children. Just because he didn’t look like a normal individual.  

Can someone tell you, what does a normal or abnormal person look like? Are sexual offenders tall, skinny, balding, and so forth? Who has the legal authority to detail what a normal person looks like and how they should? Further, who will decide what an abnormal person looks like?

Taking this further, my client was married, had no children, although he and his wife had tried for years. Due to the campaigning by the teacher who didn’t like the odd looking bus driver, the police became involved. Immediately, the bus driver was arrested and taken off to jail. Please remember the law enforcement agencies had no training or education in child sexual assault interviewing, interrogation and performing a competent and intelligent investigation was out of their preview.

There were a total of 14 children in the Head Start Program and only 9 disclosed they had been molested, raped and beaten by the bus driver. The person for interviewing these children was a woman who was a counselor at Child Haven’s Daycare. She had no forensic interviewing skills, nor the education and training to be performing interviews. Prior to conducting the interviews she went to the toy store and purchased a bus.

Upon arriving at Child’s Haven I introduced myself to her and immediately noticed the school bus toy. I asked her if she had recently purchased the bus for the interviews from the Head Start Program. She said no, she had not purchased the bus for a forensic interview tool.

photos from the Northwest Washington flood of ...Image via Wikipedia
I then pursued the hypothesis that she wasn’t telling the truth and contacted all of the stores in the Centralia and Chehalis and found one store which carried the bus. They remember the counselor who came into their store approximately two months ago (At the time she was requested to do the child interviews) and purchase the bus and some people toys she could place in the bus.

I was concerned that she had utilized the bus to receive a disclosure. To this day I believe she manipulated each child into saying they were touched by the bus driver. When it was time to interview the alleged child victims I was able to ask them about their bus rides to and from school and not one child disclosed to me that they had been sexually assaulted by the bus driver.

So what went wrong with this case? Let us break it down examining, evaluating and analyzing what took place.

1.      The woman who was a teacher talked to parents about her concern about the bus driver. The parents thought they heard from this teacher that their child had been sexually assaulted, when in fact most of the children didn’t disclose any sexual touching.
2.      Most of the parents interviewed their child, received no disclosure, and still had their child interviewed by the counselor from Child’s Haven.  In fact, all the children who were seen by the counselor at Child’s Haven disclosed abuse and the remainder of the children who were intensely interviewed by their parents and not interviewed at Child’s Haven didn’t disclose any sexual assaults.

The result of all these interviews came from the 9 children. Most of the disclosures were about going to the bus driver’s home, where there were people walking around nude; there were snakes at the home; the people from outer space came and they took a ride in their flying saucer; and there was so much more bizarre disclosure. One child said they got off the bus with one of her friend and together they ran across the field into the woods, naked, with the bus driver chasing.   

The fantasy came about because a teacher didn’t like the looks of the bus driver. There was no way to explain the behavior of these 9 children. The only hypothesis that I could find reason and logic for, was the counselor purchased the bus at the toy store and with a combination of her other interview props and tools her received these bizarre statements.

The interviews I conducted were performed at a neutral location, set up by the Judge presiding over the criminal charges. Not one child disclosed being sexually assaulted by anyone. The counselor had not video/audiotaped her interviews of the 9 children. However, I video/audiotaped each and every interview; therefore anyone who reviewed the interview could ascertain that there were no sexual assault disclosures.

Some of the facts that you need to know. The bus driver lived in a small vacant home about 20-25 minutes from the school. We were able to obtain the school busing logs and the bus driver was never late to any of the stops he was taking the children to. The parents who didn’t take their child to Child’s Haven reported that the bus driver was on time every day. There was never a time he was late. Further, the bus driver has no snakes and when we examined his house, it was a normal well-kept home.

Would one of the steps law enforcement should have done was analyze the bus route and just how could the bus driver, drive to his house, get everyone naked, pull out the snakes and play for a little while? Law enforcement simply failed to investigate the case with an objective and neutral attitude.

Obviously, the bus driver didn’t commit the alleged sexual assaults on the children. The teacher who made all this happen i.e. rolling the ball until there was steam, nothing happened to her after it was uncovered she was the instigator in the entire case.
The counselor who performed the nine child interviews were incompetent and had no business talking to children. All we could do was write a letter to Counselor’s Association in Olympia, WA.

After viewing the interviews I had conducted the prosecutor dismissed the case. This didn’t surprise me as if he would have had taken the alleged sexual assault case to trial it would have been the most embarrassing moment for all of the individuals who were supposed to be experts in their field.

The bus driver was a man by the name of Gerald Ehtee. Gerald was accused of the most bizarre allegation; something he didn’t do. Due to the stress of all these accusations took a toll on Gerald; approximately two years after the criminal charges were dismissed Gerald passed away; suffering from a massive heartache.  There isn’t a day that I don’t say a prayer for Gerald and his wife.

Tomorrow, it is important to look into reversal “Predator” criminal cases. Sometimes those in the position of responsibility need to be made aware through diligence and intelligence that the hypothesis they adhered to, was the wrong one. In being wrong, the individuals involved in this case suffered emotionally, financially and cause Gerald to lose his life at such a young age.
“Imagine just for a moment that you had been falsely accused what would you do?”

Lawrence W. Daly
253-852-6702 B/P
253-852-6704 Fax
Kent, WA

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