Warrens files civil rights lawsuit

Date: 2005-02-05

Warrens files civil rights lawsuit

The former Newberg man, acquitted twice on charges he sexually abused a Newberg girl, names city, former detectives, prosecutor and county

By Gary Allen, Newberg Graphic news editor
E-mail Gary at gallen@eaglenewspapers.com

The January arrest of St. Paul music teacher David Gilmore has raised interest that reach back two years to another man accused of sexually abusing a young child.

In 2003 police charged Timothy Warrens, a Gilmore family friend, with sexually abusing Gilmore’s 6-year-old daughter.

Warrens, remaining in jail for more than seven months because his family couldn’t afford bail, was acquitted of charges in both Yamhill and Washington counties. He was tried in both counties because allegations were that he abused the girl when the Gilmores lived in Newberg, and near Hagg Lake, which sits in Washington County.

Warrens, now living in Nevada, filed suit in federal district court claiming his civil rights were violated. Named in the suit are the city of Newberg, current Newberg police officer Sherrie McQuistion, former Newberg detective Ken Summers, Greg Olson of the Washington County District Attorney’s Office, and Yamhill County’s corrections department.

The suit alleges that Newberg failed to properly train and supervise McQuistion and Summers; that the pair, then both detectives assigned to the case, falsely arrested Warrens and subjected him to false imprisonment and malicious prosecution. The complaint also claims McQuistion and Summers conspired to violate Warrens’ civil rights and were negligent.

Summers, now an administrative lieutenant for the Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office, interviewed Warrens days before his November 2002 arrest. He stands behind the work he did as a Newberg police detective.

“We think the record speaks for itself,” he said.

Summers added that probable cause was found to arrest Warrens and that grand juries in both Yamhill and Washington counties agreed there was
probable cause.

“We feel confident in our positions,” he said, adding he wouldn’t do anything differently now. “No, I can’t say there is. I don’t believe there is.”

Summers and McQuistion arrested Warrens after interviews with the alleged victim and contact with Juliette’s House, a McMinnville child-abuse assessment center. A Juliette’s House physician testified during both of Warrens’ trials that he was confident that the girl, 6 years old at the time of the alleged abuse, was telling the truth.

However, the physician failed to find any physical evidence that the girl was abused, rather basing his claims on the a discussion the girl had with her mother. In that discussion, the mother testified, the girl said Warrens had repeatedly touched her inappropriately over the course of years. The prosecution also didn’t have any witnesses to the alleged crimes.

Still, Olson remained convinced that Warrens should be tried despite the lack of physical evidence. “If prosecutors only tried those (sexual abuse) cases where there was physical evidence, that would mean we would never prosecute,” he said in 2003.

Hewett Warrens faulted Olson for prosecuting his son a second time and decried the police department’s handling of the case. Videotape evidence introduced at the trial demonstrated that the police repeatedly lied to Warrens during an interview when he was first arrested. Although state and federal law allows a police officer to lie in pursuit of a confession, neither Hewett Warrens nor defense counsel Ted Coran cared for the tactic.

“The extent that those officers lied to this man in a vain attempt to get him to crack is disgusting,” Coran said during this closing arguments during Warrens’ trial.

McQuistion referred questions to Deputy Chief Brian Casey, who said it’s standard procedure that journalists’ queries be forwarded to City Attorney Terry Mahr. Mahr said the city secured outside counsel in the lawsuit through its insurance carrier, City-County Insurance Services, and that that was typical for lawsuits filed against the city.

Salem attorney Bruce Mowery confirmed that he represents all the defendants in the case except for Olson. He also confirmed that the Warrens family is seeking monetary damages in the suit, but that those damages are unspecified and would be set by a jury, should the case reach trial.

The case is in the discovery or investigative phase, Mowery said, and no court dates have been scheduled. He refused to comment further on the case, saying he generally refrains from discussing pending litigation.

Mahr said CCIS typically takes a tough stance on lawsuits filed against its clients and it typically doesn’t go to trial. He added that his passing knowledge of the case indicated McQuistion and Summers acted appropriately, although he noted Warrens’ two acquittals could be an important factor in the case.

Calls for comment to Warrens’ counsel, Portland attorney M. Christian Bottoms, were unsuccessful. Olson’s only comment was “I don’t have anything to say on (the lawsuit).”

Warrens’ father, Hewett, has said from the beginning his son was innocent. He maintained in 2003 that the Gilmores pressed charges against his son to draw attention away from the real perpetrator, who he assumed was a member of the Gilmore family. Investigators and district attorneys involved with the Warrens case in 2003 said there was no indication anyone but Warrens abused the girl.

David Gilmore, a music teacher in St. Paul and Newberg, was arrested in January on five counts of unlawful sexual penetration with a foreign object. He turned himself into the Marion County Sheriff’s Office a few days before his arrest and a sheriff’s office investigation had not turned up any additional victims after interviews.

Gilmore taught music nearly full-time at C.S. Lewis Academy and for a few hours a week at St. Paul Elementary. Officials at both schools maintained that Gilmore was not alone with young children during his classes.

In 2003 Hewett Warrens said the system was stacked against his son and, especially in the case of a minor, “the child is always believed — they don’t consider any other evidence.

“That is so shortsighted. ... We cannot put any innocent (person) in jail. They are only advocates for the victim.”

Darrin Tweedt, the Marion County deputy district attorney prosecuting the Gilmore case, said he and the sheriff’s office investigators are aware of the Warrens case. He stopped short, however, in speculating whether Gilmore was responsible for abusing his daughter in 2002. The victim in the most recent case, his 9-year-old adopted Russian daughter, is not the alleged victim in the 2002 case.

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