Date: 1992-08-25

Author: GORDON OLIVER - of the Oregonian Staff

Summary: The young man, who had lived for about five years with the Sisters couple, says the mistreatment was a daily routine

A 20-year-old Marine who was formerly an adopted son of Dennis and Diane Nason testified Monday that the Nasons used to lock a 5-year-old son in an enclosed bunk bed for eating too much.

The man said Diane Nason would tell other children to ``put the animal in his cage'' if the boy, who had Down syndrome, misbehaved. She would sometimes smear feces on the boy's face as punishment when he soiled his pants, the man testified in Deschutes County Juvenile Court.

The young Marine, who wore his uniform during his six hours of testimony, also alleged that the Nasons used to lock an 8-year-old son in a tiny, windowless room without food or water for failing to finish his chores. The boy urinated on the bedroom carpet until his parents eventually provided him with a hospital bucket.

The Marine, who was readopted last year by another couple and is now stationed overseas, was the second child of the Sisters couple to offer testimony critical of the Nasons.

A 27-year-old adopted daughter testified that she had been physically abused by both parents and sexually abused by Dennis Nason before she moved out of the home in 1983.

Circuit Court Judge Thomas Mosgrove is to decide whether 12 children removed from the Nason home in January should remain in state protective custody. The hearing is expected to last several weeks.

The former Nason son lived among the dozens of biological and adopted children of the Nasons between 1985 and 1990. He described a pattern of alleged abuse in which the youngest and weakest Nason children were the most frequent victims.

``When you woke up in the morning, you knew that someone was going to be abused before the day was over,'' he said. ``It was a daily routine.''

The man said Dennis Nason had punished him for his sexual involvement with a Nason daughter by grabbing his testicles and shoving his body against the wall. He said Diane Nason had slapped him in the face, bloodied his nose and kicked him.

He told the court that he was assigned as a teen-ager to care for Jason Nason as part of the family routine of requiring older children to care for younger siblings. The child, who was about 2 years old, died after a monthlong illness that left him dehydrated and unable to eat.

The man said Diane Nason was aware of the child's illness, but he said he did not think the boy was taken to a doctor.

The man said sexual activity within the family was common for some children. He admitted having had sexual intercourse with five Nason daughters.

He said he had witnessed three of the Nason boys engaging in sexual acts with sheep and a pony on a total of at least 10 occasions.

Cross-examination on the sexual activities was delayed for a day after the man asked to consult a lawyer so that he could avoid incriminating himself for any juvenile offenses.

The man said he had been brought to the United States from Colombia at age 6 and had been adopted by another family before the Nasons. He said he was forced to leave that family for lying, stealing and acting out sexually with other children.

Asked by , an attorney for the Nasons, if he was lying in his testimony, the man said, ``Everybody lies a little, I believe.''

He admitted under questioning that he had no evidence that the alleged physical abuse and discipline had left any permanent scars on any Nason child. He said he believed some had suffered psychological damage.

No criminal charges have been filed against the Nasons, who have raised more than 80 children in the past two decades.

The couple asked the Children's Services Division, when the hearing opened Aug. 18, to find new homes for the eight adopted children who had been removed from their care and to return only their three biological children and one grandson. CSD has refused to accept custody of the eight adopted children.

The state expects to put several other Nason children on the witness stand. The Nasons have a list of 175 witnesses who may be asked to testify in their defense, including as many as 30 of their children.


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