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‘Horrific is a good word for it’: Court documents detail alleged abuse by Blaine mother



Probable cause documents released by Whatcom County Superior Court detail the alleged child abuse by a Blaine mother of six, who is a former teacher and current candidate for the Blaine School Board. 

Tana Perkins Reneau, 51, was arrested by Whatcom County sheriff’s deputies Friday, June 2, on charges of child rape and child assault. 

The prosecutor’s office intends to formally charge her with first-degree child rape, second-degree child rape, third-degree child rape and four counts of second-degree child assault, according to court documents. She also faces one count of drug possession involving prescription drugs that did not belong to her. 

The arrest came after Whatcom County detectives were assigned the investigation through the state Child Protective Services. Three female children ranging in age from 7 to 14 and one male child over the age of 10 known to Reneau came forward with allegations that she had been physically and sexually abusing them as punishment, documents state.

 “Horrific is a good word for it,” Whatcom County Superior Court Commissioner Jonathan Richardson said regarding the allegations during Reneau’s first appearance in court on Monday.

Child forensic interviews conducted by staff at Brigid Collins Family Support Center found that some of the physical pain suffered by the children “was equivalent to that produced by torture.” Medical exams by a nurse found scarring and markings consistent with abuse. Two of the children were found to have chipped teeth, the documents state.

Some of the children were forced to sleep naked in the shower, in the garage or without blankets or pillows. All four children were forced to run laps, the documents state. 

The children were physically abused using closed fists and household items including boards, cords and a shovel, the documents state.

One child was severely beaten and then, upon examination of the injury, sexually assaulted by Reneau, the documents state. One child was sexually assaulted as punishment for perceived stealing, according to the documents. 

Three of the children are Black and reported that Reneau called them racial slurs, according to the documents.

“It’s a very egregious case,” said deputy prosecuting attorney David Graham “(The probable cause document) has some very specific and very disturbing allegations and, in the state’s view, there is a community safety concern.” 

The court issued a domestic violence no-contact order that protects the four unnamed victims. Reneau’s bail was set at $500,000. She remained in custody as of June 6, according to jail records. 

Reneau has six children, four of whom are adopted.

Reneau taught in the Kennewick School District for 13 years before moving to Blaine in 2011. It’s unclear whether she ever taught in Blaine schools, but she served on multiple curriculum and technology adoption committees. 

She has a master’s degree in elementary level teaching from Washington State University and a bachelor’s in business administration from Linfield University, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Reneau has filed to run for an open seat on the Blaine School Board and will face two other candidates in the Aug. 1 primary. She previously ran unsuccessfully for the school board in 2019. 

She also has been involved with North Whatcom County Young Life ministry and as a leader in a program called YoungLives, which aims to offer guidance, resources and support to teen mothers.

In 2021, Reneau opened a candy company called Better Buttermint Co., where she employed young adults with developmental disabilities. At least one of her children lives with an expressive language disorder that affects his motor and verbal skills. Reneau told the Northern Light newspaper that her child’s skills noticeably improved while working for the company. 

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2023 Jun 6