DAUGHTER TESTIFIES AT NASON HEARING
Author: GORDON OLIVER - of the Oregonian Staff
Summary: The woman says she was sexually molested by Dennis Nason and that her mother hit her with a guitar and a pitchfork
A woman adopted as a child by Dennis and Diane Nason described in graphic detail Wednesday the alleged physical, sexual and emotional abuse that she said she suffered in the Nason home.
The 27-year-old woman, who now lives in Portland, said she had been sexually molested by Dennis Nason, and that he had attempted intercourse with her in the Sisters Post Office when he was the city postmaster. She said her adoptive mother had hit her with a guitar and a pitchfork, and that the Nasons repeatedly abused their adopted children.
The woman, one of more than 80 adopted and natural children of the Nasons, was the first witness in a Deschutes County Juvenile Court hearing that opened Tuesday. Circuit Judge Thomas Mosgrove will decide whether 12 Nason children will be returned to their parents or remain in protective custody of the state Children's Services Division.
Earlier Wednesday, Mosgrove denied a request by the Nasons to dismiss the custody case. Mosgrove also said he had no legal authority to order CSD to take custody of eight adopted Nason children, as the couple requested Tuesday.
The Nasons wanted to give up those eight children and regain permanant custody of three natural children and one adopted grandson. Those four children range in age from 2 to 16.
The state removed all 12 chldren form the rural Nason home in January after allegations of abuse. CSD officials said they do not want custody of the eight adopted children without first considering the needs of those children.
No criminal charges have been filed against the couple.
The Nason daughter who testified Wednesday described her life with the Nasons from the time of her adoption at age 10 until she left the home shortly after her 18th birthday. She said that during her first six months in the home, Dennis Nason would hit her with a belt for not eating her meals quickly enough. She said that Nason had used a cattle prod on her arms and back when she was a teen-ager, and that Diane Nason had struck her with a guitar, a pitchfork, and two-by-fours.
The woman said her parents had punished her by placing her mouth under a faucet with hot running water. She said she had seen her parents place the head of one of her sisters in a toilet and then flush the toilet to punish the girl for not eating meals.
The woman described alleged sexual molestations by Dennis Nason that began when she was in the ninth grade.
She said Nason attempted intercourse with her on three occasions, including one time in the Sisters Post Office. The woman said that her adoptive father had threatened to kill her if she ever revealed the incidents.
In cross-examination, Nason attorney Tim Vanagas pointed to inconsistencies between the woman's statements about the details of alleged abuse and her earlier statements to investigators. He also noted that she had accused other men of sexual and physical abuse. The cross-examinataion will continue Thursday.
Vanagas argued in his opening statement that the Nasons were driven by a desire to help some of the world's ``throwaway kids.'' He said the children who will testify against their parents are among the most ``dysfunctional and mentally incapable'' in the family, while those who will speak in support are the most successful in life. He accused CSD of influencing the children to speak against their parents.
``The evidence will show that the KGB would be proud of what has occurred,'' he said.
But state and county officals presented a different picture. Ken Brinich, a Deschutes County deputy district attorney, said the state would present more evidence that children were kicked and beaten, and that children had sex with each other and performed bizarre sexual acts.
Brinich said the state would also show that some children were locked in wooden structures than amounted to cages, and were forced to ``sit in their own filth'' if they urinated or defecated in those structures.
``They adopted throwaway kids and then threw these throwaway kids away,'' he said.
During a discussion of the Nasons' proposal to turn custody of eight children over to the state, an attorney representing those children urged CSD to accept permanent custody.
Lynn Jarvis, a Bend attorney, said she met Tuesday night with four of the children who were old enough or mentally capable of expressing an opinion and found that none of them wanted to return to the Nason home.
She harshly condemned the couple, however, for announcing at a Monday news conference that they would give up the children without first getting word to the children.