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GUILTY of child abuse - Robyn Drown & Graydon Drown found GUILTY on most charges.

Jury deliberations lasted for only four hours, and lead to a verdict of guilty.
Jury deliberations lasted for only four hours, and lead to a verdict of guilty of most charges in the trials of Robyn Kay Drown (42) and Graydon Drown (49) of Turner, Oregon. Both Drowns, appearing as co-defendants but charged separately, appeared before Judge Thomas Hart and a jury of twelve in Marion County Circuit Court. The Drowns were each charged with 25 counts of second-degree assault and first-degree criminal mistreatment. The allegations included beating the children with objects that ranged from a metal pipe, a fiberglass tent pole with a knotted cord attached, a switch, plastic piping, 2-by-4 boards and other household objects.

Robyn Drown (nee Lewis) and Graydon Drown both grew up in Alaska. As children she and Graydon attended church congregations of the Worldwide Church of God about 100 miles apart, but their families knew each other. Graydon Drown then moved closer to Anchorage and began attending the same church as she did. Robyn Lewis and Graydon Drown were married, with Robyn's parents consent, when Robyn was 15. Their first child was born a few months later. Following their marriage Robyn and Graydon Drown lived in California, Alaska, Oregon, and Hawaii. Leading a sparse and insulated lifestyle, at one point the entire family set up camp near Mill City in a sport utility vehicle and a tent. The children who testified this week said they never attended school or saw a doctor or dentist.

Robyn and Graydon Drown are the parents of twelve children. Three older children, now adults, were removed from their home in California in the 1990s and raised by his parents. The couple's nine youngest children - ranging in age from 6 months to 16 years old - were taken by Oregon child welfare authorities after the Drowns were arrested in June. The abuse of their nine younger children was revealed this spring after two of the couple's teen sons confided in leaders they came to trust at Chabad of Salem, and Temple Beth Sholom in South Salem, where the family regularly attended services and programs. After investigation both parents were arrested and indicted. While in custody Robyn Drown filed for divorce. The application will also be heard by Judge Hart and is still pending.

Citing quotes from the Bible, Robyn Drown's attorney R. Brooke Holstedt framed her defence on a basis of "battered wife" syndrome. Patricia Warford, a psychologist from Newberg, Oregon and called by Holstedt, testified as an expert witness on Thursday. She explained the psychology of trauma to the jury and described Robyn Drown as a battered woman. As part of Robyn Drown's defence Holstedt said she was a battered woman who was psychologically terrorized by her husband and could not act outside of his control, but Robyn Drown acknowledged that she never expressed any discontent in her marriage or made claims of abuse. She had never filed a police report.

According to Robyn Drown's testimony she had been shoved and slapped a few times during their marriage and was called names such as "T-Rex", "puke", and "Fred". Robyn Drown testified she had stuck her children without direction from their father and she never came to the defence of a child who was being beaten or punished.

When asked by Marion County prosecutor Sarah Morris whether she confided in anyone about her husband's abuse against her Robyn Drown said "I didn't want to go around complaining."

Morris also asked "Did you ever step in front of Mr. Drown and take the blows yourself?"

"No, I never did," Robyn Drown replied.

As a witness for her sister's defence, Robyn Drown's younger sister Heather Larson said she and her sister were raised in Anchorage, Alaska under the faith of the Worldwide Church of God. ( link to en.wikipedia.org) Members of the Worldwide Church of God consent to giving the ministers nearly complete control over a family's life, including relationships, child-rearing and financial decisions. Larson said the church sanctioned punishing children using belts, but that she never struck her own children. ("The Plain Truth About Child Rearing" by Herbert W. Armstrong) Robyn Drown's supporters outside the courtroom, however, deny that family and extended family have had any affiliation in over twenty years with the Worldwide Church of God or its offshoots. Robyn Drown's family supported her marriage to Graydon throughout.

Chapin Milbank and Stephen A. Lipton, attorneys for Graydon Drown, presented a defence of "reasonable corporal punishment". Lipton argued that Robyn Drown was not a victim of her marriage and did disclose to a number of relatives, friends and community members any discontent with her marriage.

On Wednesday a disturbing tape, which was recorded in secrecy by one of the oldest sons at the suggestion of the rabbi, was played for the jury. The shocking evidence revealed a voice identified as Graydon Drown asking "Where's the stick?" and child's voice which suddenly became silent. For over two minutes pistol-like cracks of what sounded like a whip followed, increasing in speed and intensity at one point. The child, identified as a six year old, cried and shrieked in pain. A voice, identified as Robyn Drown, talked calmly in the background. She did not comment or come to the defence of the abused child. A second child, who was present during the beating, could be also heard. The tape was played again during closing arguments.

Two weapons were seized during the investigation - the switchlike fiberglass tent pole with a knotted cord used to beat the daughter and heard on the tape, and a four-foot pipe made of galvanized metal. These weapons were allegedly used in beating one of the teenage sons. As part of the prosecution's case seven of the nine younger children testified in the trial. The oldest of the three children who were removed in the 1990s also testified.

Stephen L. Lipton, one of Graydon Drown's attorneys, said his client was a father who was a strict disciplinarian, but that he did not act beyond his means as a parent upholding reasonable corporal punishment.

A neighbor notified investigators after the parents were arrested of a small parcel left on the property. In it was a blue tarp, flashlight, batteries, some food and toilet paper. The parcel was later identified by one of the teen boys as his "runaway kit."

Robyn Drown's mother, Sandra Lewis wept in court while Hart read the verdicts aloud. Robyn Drown covered her face with one hand. Graydon Drown showed no expression. After the verdict was read, Lipton said he thought that the four hours the jury deliberated was rather quick for such a complex case and he was disappointed in the outcome. Lipton said it was too early to know whether his client would appeal.

How long the two will serve is yet to be determined, but some charges that carry a minimum sentence of 70 months in prison. Both Robyn and Graydon Drown will be held at Marion County Correctional Facility until their sentencing at 4 p.m. on January 7, 2009.

The placement of all nine children will be determined after their parents are sentenced. "They lived in this life because it was the life Robyn and Graydon Drown subjected them to," prosecutor Sarah Morris said during her closing argument.

costody 21.Dec.2008 15:14

anon

The court case regarding the placement of the children placement will be Jan. 8. It will be heard before the same judge as the trial and divorce application, Marion County Circuit Judge Thomas Hart.

CORRECTION 21.Dec.2008 15:24

Erika Halfpenny

"Chapin Milbank and Stephen A. Lipton, attorneys for Graydon Drown, presented a defence of "reasonable corporal punishment". Lipton argued that Robyn Drown was not a victim of her marriage and did disclose to a number of relatives, friends and community members any discontent with her marriage."

Should read:

Chapin Milbank and Stephen A. Lipton, attorneys for Graydon Drown, presented a defence of "reasonable corporal punishment". Lipton argued that Robyn Drown was not a victim of her marriage and DID NOT disclose to a number of relatives, friends and community members any discontent with her marriage.

Robyn Background 26.Dec.2008 19:38

Where did this incorrect info come from?

Robyn was 19 when she legally married Graydon, not 15. And their first child was born 3 days later, not months after. But they never considered their wedding date to be their anniversary as they considered themselves "married in the eyes of God" before then.

Questions re: info about Robyn posted by me 28.Dec.2008 02:56

anon

The information about her marriage came to me directly from Robyn Drown, so if it is false I suggest you take it up with her! I am fully aware that she is a pathological liar and she might have told me this because she had already told me she was 38 when in fact she was 41.

She told me these things during casual, there was absolutely no reason for her to lie. How do you know she is telling you the truth? And I have to wonder if you are a friend or family member why would this one detail concern you, as apposed to say, the fact that she is a convicted child abuser?

Clarification 28.Dec.2008 17:49

Erika Halfpenny

The information regarding Robyn Kay Lewis' age at the time of her marriage to Graydon Drown was clarified by inside sources. If documents can be provided to dispute the information it will be immediately corrected.

what Robyn Drown told me about her life 28.Dec.2008 21:25

not crazy enough to leave my name

Drown, Robyn Kay- DOB: 08-02-66 per Marion county Jail and OREGON DL. She is 42 now. She did tell me she was 38 last October. She also told me sometime in 2007 that she was married to Graydon when she was 16 and her parents had to sign. I suspect the second lie was told to cover up the first one.

She told me about her marriage as part of a story about how she did not understand why her parents did not like Graydon. She also said that her parents who had abused her as a child had "taken their first three kids" because she and Graydon were "too religious". That Graydon did not have an Oregon DL because he wanted to avoid paying child support since the children were taken by force and had never been abuse and her whole family knew it but they were all really screwed up. And for those reading this, yes, she said all this in a way that was completly believable, she is THAT good of a liar.

The lies she told are that her parents NEVER had custody of her kids, Graydon's parents did. The older children where abused and the state , not the parents removed them from the home because they were being abused. They have never been "too religious" they lost their kids because they are both absoluty nuts. Robyn blamed the abuse on Graydon that time too and got away with it.

The true information is that she, by her sisters testimony, was abused by her parents. Graydon was on the run form paying support to the state of California for foster care payments and her family is completely screwed up.

The question is how old was Robyn when she got married. The answer is who cares.

Robyn Background 06.Jan.2009 10:05

Where did this incorrect info come from?

Yes, I will admit to being related to the Drowns. Close enough to have seen the wedding pictures with the wedding dress that had extra fabric added to the seam because she was 9 months pregnant. Their oldest child was born in 1986. That would have made Robyn at least 19, old enough to not need permission from her parents.

The reason I took issue with this, and have seamed to ignore the child abuse, is that this misinformation, granted most likely coming from Robyn herself, is being used to support the idea that she was abused as a child herself, and because of that abuse allowed it to happen to her children. The Lewis', while not being many people's idea of great parents, were not abusers, and they did not start a pattern of behavior. Yeah, they raised their daughters in a cult (and this church was a cult in the sense that the Jehovah's Witnesses are a cult- they just differ a LOT from mainstream Christianity and have a lot of control.) But nothing they did could have been prosecuted, and they loved them the best way they knew how. They did not arrange or allow a child marriage, though they did encourage this "shotgun wedding" if you will because the church/cult they belonged to did not accept Graydon and Robyn's claim of "being married in the eyes of God" on 6/30/85. Nor would many people have back then, or probably now.

Robyn has shown a pattern of blaming what goes wrong on other people instead of taking personal responsibility for her own actions and in-actions. Admitting her guilt is the best thing she can do for her kids right now.

Just wondering why now? 06.Jan.2009 20:42

Anon

How accountable should people to be and how much research should they do when they get info "right from the horse's mouth"? At one of the pretrial hearings Graydon said they had religious ceremony in June and a civil ceremony later to make the marriage "legal" later. Robyn was sitting right next to him and did not dispute this. I guess the oath to tell the truth, even using a bible, is not one of "God's laws" in Graydon's world.

Robyn's sister testified at the trial and blamed Worldwide Church of God for how the parents raised them. I would guess that many people who belong to the current WCG do not even know much about the original "church". Jehovah's Witnesses are not even in the same league and if you think there is any similarity I suggest you really research the pre 1993 WCG before you make this sort of assumption.


I "get" that Robyn's family does not agree with the verdict. Maybe her parents can not comprehend what damage their CHOICES caused? All I know is that time after time her family members have done nothing but name call, belittle and insult anyone who disagrees with their position. Meanwhile they blamed everything on Graydon and then WCG! I would have thought that there has to be a point where they HEAR what they are being told, but if the tape of their granddaughter being whipped while Robyn chatted in the background didn't do it they are lost causes.

Personally, I think that Robyn and Graydon intentionally and systematically destroyed the lives of their children and both of them knew exactly what they were doing. None of this could have happened without Robyn's allowing it and she should get the same exact sentence he gets.

Why do they care what all of us, the people they spent months insulting and calling "crazy nut jobs" think now? My guess is they want custody of the children and are trying to present themselves in the best light. I am thinking it is to late and waiting to see who they will be blaming next.

Why all the "Poor" Robyn Crap? What about the kids? 06.Jan.2009 21:08

anon

Graydon has been mentally ill FOR YEARS. Look at his defense "argument". He knew about the recording of the whipping but his defense was that he did not do anything wrong! With evidence like that would anyone who is NOT delusional claim that what happened in that home was simply "strict discipline"? He is sick and dangerous and deserves every second of prison time he is heading for.

Robyn knew exactly what Graydon's delusion was BEFORE she married him. She knew that "god" was communicating directly with Graydon. She knew that he intended to built his "army of disciples" and manifest his "vision". He told her that "god" sent her to him to be the mother of his children. All the signs of bat shit crazy were there but she married him anyway. She might be nuts, she might even have an underlying pathology but unlike Graydon, who lives in his own reality, she certainly knows right from wrong.

When the abuse of the first three children came to light, Robyn again chooses Graydon and his grad plan. She abandoned her children and then for YEARS and YEARS Robyn propped Graydon up, protected him, lied for him, willingly breed his "army". She did anything necessary to keep the family together and the children isolated. She was NOT afraid of him and even if he abused her, she decided on her own to stay with him because she wanted to have "the messiah's" children. The bottom line is that if she was not co conspiring with him this abuse would have ended years ago.

Their parents failed them in every way possible and in the end the children saved themselves.