Disturbing details - Robyn and Graydon Drown CHILD ABUSE TRIAL continues
Foster parent says six week old infant had dirt caked in between his fingers and toes, as well as in the creases of his arms — she had to soak the baby first in water before cleaning him.
Disturbing details were revealed in court today during the presentation of video and audio recordings of abuse "allegedly" inflicted upon nine children by their parents, Marion County residents Robyn Kay Drown and Graydon Drown. A fiberglass tent pole segment with a dangling elastic cord was entered during trial as evidence of a weapon claimed to have been used to abuse the children. Robyn and Graydon Drown both face 25-counts abuse and criminal mistreatment. The jury trial is expected to last through Thursday in Circuit Judge Thomas Hart's courtroom.
In court today, Patty Villarreal, an Oregon Department of Human Services caseworker, described her interviews with the older children. She said each child told her that they were abused by BOTH parents. Villarreal said she met and conducted assessments of Robyn Kay Drown and Graydon Drown after their arrests. She said Graydon Drown appeared angry and confused, balling up his fists at times in anger when she described what the state intended to do for the children's care, and Robyn Drown appeared unconcerned and did not cry, or ask any questions about the children. While the audio recording played in court, Robyn Drown, cried and covered her face. It was the first time she openly displayed any emotion during court proceedings. ( http://www.statesmanjournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2008812170431)
A certified foster parent for medically-fragile children, Penny Lewis, described how the youngest child, at six weeks old, came to their home. She said the infant had dirt caked in between his fingers and toes, as well as in the creases of his arms, and she had to soak the baby first in water before cleaning him.
In an effort to defend her sister, Heather Larson, Robyn Drown's younger sister spoke as a witness. Heather Larson described to the jury how she and her sister were raised in Anchorage, Alaska under the faith of the renowned cult, the Worldwide Church of God. Larson described the ministers having nearly complete control over the family's lives, including relationships, child-rearing and financial decisions. Larson said the church sanctioned punishing children using belts. Conversely, however, Heather Larson and Robyn Drown's mother Sandy Lewis have claimed outside the courtroom not to have had anything to do with the Worldwide Church of God or its offshoots for over a decade, and now claim that they know child abuse is wrong. These conflicting statements raise serious credibility questions.
Robyn and Graydon Drown are now claiming to be Jewish - Graydon wearing a yalmuke and bushy beard, and spouting quotes from the Old Testament. Salem Rabbi Avrohom Perlstein, with Chabad of Salem, is not a rabbi at Temple Beth Sholom, where the Drowns regularly attended, but knows the Drown family through his religious classes. Rabbi Perlstein said the Jewish faith does not sanction corporal punishment. "There is no such thing as beating your children," Perlstein said. "Even slapping your child is not allowed." Perlstein said he later learned after the Drowns' arrest that Graydon Drown was not Jewish because he did not convert under Orthodox Judaism rules. Robyn Drown has claimed to family members that they did not convert according to Orthox rules, because Graydon would then not be able to deliver their babies.
In an attempt to justify her complete lack of providing a nurturing and safe environment for her children, Robyn is now claiming that she too is abused by Graydon and is not guilty of abusing her nine children. Outside the court, Heather Larson and Sandy Lewis claim to have known about the alleged abuse Robyn and the children endured, but neither has ever made a police report or provided sanctuary, raising the questions, "Is the claim of spousal abuse a ruse on Robyn's part to evade responsibility for treating her children in the horrific manner for which she has been indicted?", and "If they were aware of abuse, why was it not reported by Robyn Kay Drown, Heather Larson, or Sandy Lewis?".
Robyn Drown, 42, is represented by a Public Defender, attorney R. Brooke Holstedt. Graydon Drown, 49, is also represented by Public Defenders, attorneys Chapin Milbank and Stephen A. Lipton. The state rested it's case this morning.
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