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Videotape shows sex abuse, police say


Videotape shows sex abuse, police say

A man is accused of crimes against his adopted son

December 2, 2004

A Silverton man stands accused of years-long sexual abuse of his son, whom he adopted from a Romanian orphanage, after a sexually graphic video was found in a camera that had been returned to an electronics store.

William Delos Peckenpaugh, 37, was arraigned Tuesday on six counts of first-degree sodomy, two counts of first-degree sexual abuse and using a child in the display of sexually explicit conduct.

He is being held without bail in the Marion County jail.

His 9-year-old son was placed in the custody of the Department of Human Services and remained in a foster home Wednesday.

The Marion County Sheriff's Office began investigating Nov. 15. Investigators were alerted to the alleged abuse after a couple bought a video camera at Fry's Electronics in Wilsonville, Deputy District Attorney Darin Tweedt said.

The video camera had been returned to the store by a Peckenpaugh family member, Tweedt said, and the store then sold the camera to the couple.

The couple discovered a sexually graphic video of a man and a young boy in the camera. They returned the camera to the store, and employees called police.

The district attorney's office thinks that the man and boy on the video are Peckenpaugh and his son.

The alleged abuse had been going on for four years, Tweedt said.

Peckenpaugh was indicted by a Marion County grand jury last week. He has no criminal history, according to Oregon court records.

Peckenpaugh adopted the boy from an orphanage in Romania, Tweedt said.

"There are a lot of avenues in this investigation that are still open," Tweedt said. "Obviously we want to know more about how he came to our country."

A man named Bill Peckenpaugh from Silverton wrote the Statesman Journal in June 1999 about his frustration with the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which he thought was dragging out the review of his application to adopt a child from Romania.

Peckenpaugh and the boy lived with Peckenpaugh's parents, Tweedt said.

Peckenpaugh's father also is named William Peckenpaugh. The senior William Peckenpaugh is retired but serves as the vice president of the board of directors for the Silverton Fire District.

Vince Herman, chief of the fire district, said that he is acquainted with the younger William Peckenpaugh, who had briefly volunteered for the fire district, but that he does not know him well.

Herman is good friends with the senior William Peckenpaugh and his wife, Carol, and has met their grandson many times.

"They're very good and very loving grandparents," Herman said. "This whole ordeal I am imagining is very hard on Bill and Carol."

carar@StatesmanJournal.com or (503) 399-6750

2004 Dec 2