Pastor urges withholding judgment
Pastor urges withholding judgment
July 11, 2008
By JAMIE DEXTER
The Rev. Carlo Serrano, a pastor at First Assembly of God, said the Perrys are "good people."
He added, "A grand jury indictment doesn't make someone guilty.
"They deserve their time in court."
Earnest L. Perry, 65, his wife, Windie L. Perry, 51, and their daughter Elizabeth Perry, 20, were charged this week with abusing two of the Perrys' five other adopted children.
The two women were additionally charged with sex crimes against the two girls.
All of children have been removed from the home.
Serrano said he has known the Perrys since 2005, and they are active in the church, especially Elizabeth Perry, who he says was involved with a teen group and is now in a college group at the church.
"Elizabeth ... works great with children, and we've never had a problem before," said Serrano, adding the family has had Elizabeth since she was a newborn.
"I have trusted her to babysit and watch my own children personally without any concern or doubt."
Serrano added that the Perrys could not have adopted six foster children if the reported problems had been taking place in their home.
"They have a history of being good, upstanding people and are faithful to the church," Serrano said.
"The accusations being made — it's just shocking," he said.
Serrano said the family needs their time in court to defend themselves, and he hopes to see the truth come out.
"We've seen in our community basketball coaches and teachers falsely accused," Serrano said.
"This is another situation like that — I hate to see this family crucified — and those are serious accusations, so let's trust our system," he added.
Jamie Dexter covers crime and entertainment and he can be reached at 245-0216 or email@example.com.
3 charged with torturing kids
Two women charged with rape, five children removed from home
July 11, 2008
TAVIA D. GREEN and JAMIE DEXTER
An orange-colored house at 806 R.S. Bradley Blvd. that was once full of children is now occupied only by three adults — all three charged with severely abusing those children, two of them charged with child rape.
People could be heard Thursday morning talking behind the closed front door, which displayed a sign reading, "Faith will see us through."
Living in the home are Earnest L. Perry, 65, his wife, Windie L. Perry, 51, and their adopted daughter Elizabeth Perry, 20, who have each been charged with eight counts of aggravated child abuse. Additionally, Windie and Elizabeth Perry were each charged with two counts of rape of a child and two counts of aggravated rape.
Earnest Perry served as a security guard for 20 years at Austin Peay State University, and retired June 1, 2007, said Bill Persinger, APSU spokesman.
According to an indictment handed down by the July term of the grand jury and released Thursday, the three are accused of abusing two girls younger than 13 between May 2006 and March 2008. Windie and Elizabeth Perry are accused of using an object to rape the girls between January and March of this year.
On two counts, the three are accused of inflicting "bodily injuries and said acts of abuse were especially heinous, atrocious, cruel and involved the infliction of torture to the victim," according to the indictment.
They were arrested Wednesday after a sealed indictment was handed down. They were held in the Montgomery County Jail on $150,000 bond, but bonded out the same day.
On March 18, Mary Taylor, a Cunningham Lane woman, heard a child at the Perrys' home screaming for help, according to a report by Clarksville Police Department Officer Bruce Pettitt. Taylor said she called police when the child came to her door.
When Pettitt arrived, he "noticed a white female standing on a porch with a juvenile black female behind her. She appeared to be protecting her."
Earnest and Windie were also with the child when police arrived, Pettitt wrote.
Pettitt took the 13-year-old girl inside to calm her down and ask her what happened.
"She told me that her mother, Mrs. Perry, had hit her in the face with a spatula and hit her on the head with a rolling pin," Pettitt wrote. "I saw blood on her lower lip as well as a laceration on the top of her head."
CPD Detective Larry Boren then took over the case. Taylor confirmed by phone Thursday that the girl came to her home for help. But because of Taylor's possible involvement in the court proceedings, she declined to comment further on what happened.
"I'm just glad the child is safe and has another chance and another life," she said.
CPD spokeswoman Sgt. Cheryl Anderson said the case has been turned over to the grand jury, and police can't comment on the specifics.
Rob Johnson, spokesman for the Department of Children Services, said there were many details of the Perrys' case that he could not discuss, but he did say Windie and Earnest Perry's five adopted children, not including Elizabeth, have been in state custody since the investigation began months ago.
"Whenever there's a case with potential criminal investigation, we always work closely with law enforcement and with prosecutors," Johnson said. "Our job is to make sure the children are in a safe place. We frequently work hand-in-hand with detectives and prosecutors."
Johnson said the children have been placed in foster care.
He said the parents were DCS foster parents from 2000 to 2006, and their records show the last time a foster child was placed in their care was May 2003.
"We're working with law enforcement to identify any potential victims of abuse and to share our records with law enforcement and assist them in their criminal investigation," Johnson said. "We don't want to do anything to hamper their work."
Larry Ross, court administrator for the juvenile courts, said the juveniles had a hearing concerning the abuse allegations several months ago.
Michael Meador, the attorney who serves as the juveniles' guardian and represents them in court proceedings, said he could not comment on their ages.
"They're doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances," Meador said. The Leaf-Chronicle does not identify victims of possible sex crimes.
Windie Perry, who answered the door Thursday morning, declined to comment about the allegations and later left the home.
A phone message left at the Perry residence was not returned.
But the Perrys' side of the story has, in one sense, already been told.
Through public MySpace and BlogSpot posts over recent months, a person identifying herself as Elizabeth Perry of Clarksville gave denials of any wrongdoing in the home. The photograph and listed age of the person making the posts matched those Elizabeth Perry.
On the MySpace blog, she wrote in an undated post, "On Tue night my oldest sis under me ran away from home becuse she got mad that she can't have boyfriend shes only 13 come on well ... she told this lady that my mom was locking her up in a dog kennel so DCS came and took all 5 of my younger siblings away from us and we have not seen or herd from them since Tue night.
"Grrrr I could kill and I mean kill thous people at DCS right now help!!!! help me father God!!!"
She also wrote about how the family was granted visits with the children shortly after they were taken by DCS.
One entry, dated May 16, talks about one such visit.
"Today we had the visit with my 3 brothers .... it was awesome to se how they have matured is amazeining," Perry wrote. "(One brother) cried whene they left that just about tore my heart out my chest."
About a month ago, on June 18, the blog turned fearful. "I'm so scared it's not funny ... I don't want to go to jail or be charged with something I did'nt do ... but it seems liek thats what's going to happen," she wrote. "I just with they would tell the truth ... I love my sibs I would never hurt them."
MySpace messages to Elizabeth Perry were not returned. The blogs were removed Thursday afternoon.
Circuit Court clerks said the Perrys should have their court arraignments — where the charges are formally heard — at the beginning of next month.
It is not yet known whether the case will be heard by Judge John H. Gasaway III or Judge Mike R. Jones. An assistant district attorney has not yet been assigned.
Tavia Green can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.orgJamie Dexter covers crime and entertainment and he can be reached at 245-0216 or email@example.com.