Date: 1992-08-26

Author: GORDON OLIVER - of the Oregonian Staff

Summary: An 18-year-old adopted son of Dennis and Diane Nason describes abuse he says he experienced from the couple

An 18-year-old adopted son of Dennis and Diane Nason took the witness stand in Deschutes County Juvenile Court on Tuesday to describe physical abuses that he said were a regular part of life in the Nason home.

Another son, a 20-year-old Marine corporal, completed his testimony Tuesday afternoon after nine hours on the witness stand over two days. He acknowledged that he had engaged in sexual intercourse with one of the Nasons' biological daughters when he was 13 and she was about 7.

The 20-year-old man said one of the Nasons' biological sons, who was then about 9 years old, also engaged in sex with his biological sister in the same incident.

The 18-year-old man who spoke Tuesday was adopted by the Nasons at the age of 5. He said he recalled once soiling his pants during a trip when he was about 8 years old. When the family returned to their farm near Sisters 2 1/2 hours later, Dennis Nason put him in a bathtub, put his foot on his chest and urinated on him as punishment, the man said.

He said his parents had hit him with sticks, a wooden paddle, a two-by-four and a cattle prod. Diane Nason bloodied his nose twice and Dennis Nason once, he said. An adult Nason son once forced him to drink dirty water from an animal trough for failing to bring water to the farm animals, the man said.

The state Children's Services Division is asking Circuit Court Judge Thomas Mosgrove to keep 12 Nason children in state protective custody. They were removed from the home in January.

The Nasons want to keep their three biological children and a grandson, and they want the CSD to find new homes for the adopted children.

The 18-year-old man, who is now enrolled in a Job Corps program, testified that Dennis Nason had once ordered him and a brother to spend the night in a walk-in cooler in a barn. He said he had spent the night walking around instead and that he had seen his brother nearly fall asleep inside the cooler.

Last week, a 27-year-old Nason daughter described the incident but said it involved a freezer rather than a cooler.

The 18-year-old said he used to get into trouble for ``stealing'' food from his own home. He said the Nasons would punish children for taking food by forcing them to drink a bottle of hot sauce or eat a pot of mush.

The man said he believed that the Nasons' biological children and a few ``special'' adopted children had received better care in the home than most of the adopted children. The biological children received more attention from Diane Nason when they became ill, he said.

He said he had engaged in sexual intercourse with three Nason girls, but he refused to answer further questions on that topic without consulting a lawyer.

He said six children with Down syndrome were locked up in ``cages'' that resembled enclosed bunk beds. He said under questioning that the bunks were removed from the home when they became filthy from the smell of urine and feces.

The young man, like the two siblings who testified before him, described his parents as ``hypocrites'' for espousing Christian values, yet failing to live according to those principles.

``They would say something and do the total opposite,'' he said.

Diane Nason once co-authored a book called ``The Celebration Family'' with heavy religious overtones that included an introduction by Sen. Mark Hatfield, R-Ore. The Nasons received many donations from local and national church organizations.

In cross-examination by Nason attorney Tim Vanagas, the man said he had brought up subjects not discussed with an investigator because they had only resurfaced in his memory within the last week. He told Vanagas in response to a question that the most severe punishment he had ever received was being lifted up by his testicles. He did not say who had performed that act.


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