Ex-Wenatchee sex crime detective Bob Perez dies

WENATCHEE — Former Wenatchee police Detective Bob Perez, who led a discredited child sex ring investigation in the 1990s in central Washington, has died.

Perez, 60, of Waterville died on Dec. 12 at Central Washington Hospital of stroke-related complications, The Wenatchee World reported Wednesday.

His daughter, Michelle Valdez, confirmed his death to The Associated Press.

As the city’s chief sex crimes investigator, Perez arrested dozens of Wenatchee Valley adults between 1994 and 1995 on suspicion of sexually abusing children, sometimes in bizarre, ritualistic fashion. His investigation, with state Child Protective Services agents, ensnared 42 Chelan and Douglas County residents, 28 of whom were convicted or pleaded guilty, the newspaper reported.

Of the cases that ended in convictions or guilty pleas, 18 were thrown out or overturned on appeal after Perez’s tactics were investigated by a specially appointed appellate judge. The investigation found that Perez coerced suspects, many poor and developmentally disabled, into making false confessions, and coached testimony from witnesses.

Two key victims were in Perez’s foster care at the time. Both later recanted their claims of sexual abuse.

By 2004, the city of Wenatchee had paid out more than $7 million in jury awards and settlements to claimants who were falsely accused. The last civil lawsuit against the city was settled in 2011 for $120,000, the paper reported.

The case resulted in changes in state law regarding foster care, sex-abuse investigation and mental-health institutionalization involving children, but Perez had no regrets.

“If I were an investigator charged with investigating the cases today, I’d do it exactly the same way,” Perez said in 2004.

One of the central figures in the case who was acquitted, East Wenatchee Pastor Roby Roberson, told KPQ-TV he always expected an apology but never received one.

Retired police sergeant Mike Magnotti said protecting children was the first priority for Perez.

“As a police officer he did his very best to serve his community,” Magnotti said.

Perez is survived by a son and daughter.

———

Information from: The Wenatchee World, http://www.wenatcheeworld.com

More in Local News

District takes steps to secure school campuses

Safety measures have been enhanced at Hawthorne and Silver Firs elementary schools in Everett.

Hard work is paying off for Mariner High senior

Mey Ly has excelled in school since moving here from Cambodia; she also serves as an intrepreter.

County under flood watch; back-to-back storms promise heavy rain

The National Weather Service issued a flood watch Monday for… Continue reading

1 arrested after SWAT team moves in on Marysville house

The incident was connected to an earlier robbery.

Yes to turn signal — eventually

Adding a right-turn signal at 112th St. and 7th Ave. is turning out to be a bit more complicated.

No easy exit from Smokey Point shopping complex

There’s just no easy exit on this one. A reader called in… Continue reading

Front Porch

EVENTS Gingerbread house construction Gingerbread house workshops for families will be held… Continue reading

Snohomish County Council plugs away on budget

Members plan to take up the work again at 7 p.m.

Most Read