Bob Perez

#10: Bob Perez: Wenatchee Home Wrecker

The chief interrogator of children

I've always wondered about the motivation behind much of what the child protectors do. Their actions are commonly so "off the edge," and so overreacting, that it seems almost as if they're "on a mission" to "get" people. We know that most of what Child Protective Services itself does is because they get money from the federal government for it. Every time they take a child from a home, they get a set amount from the feds. Every time a child goes into foster care, they get more. When "counseling" is done, still more. But I've always wondered about the personal motivations of the workers involved.

I recently came upon an article in the "Seattle Post-Intelligencer" about police officer Bob Perez, the central figure in the "Wenatchee (Washington) Witch Hunt," Where 21 children remain in foster care or halfway houses and 17 people remain in prison as a result of his efforts. This article, by P-I reporters Mike Barber and Andrew Schneider, helped me to understand the motivation of at least one person who is known to have exceeded his authority on many occasions while railroading many people into prison.


One of the first known things Robert Perez did in his personal life was to cuckold the man who had taken him in as a teenager when he had nowhere else to go. When Lenny Williams found Perez with his wife, he threw him out. But after they divorced, Perez married her and suddenly, without warning, took the children and moved out of the state. This was Perez' first child kidnapping (to my knowledge), and maybe a template for what was to come. When Williams taught Perez locksmithing, Perez predictably used that knowledge to pilfer from the candy machines at the bicycle shop where he was working. Betraying those who help him seems to be one of Bob's patterns. Perez was known to his friends as a youth who was "the wild one" in any group, and could always be counted upon to know "where the weed was" in any given area. He had been investigated many times and arrested several times as a petty thief.


Even while going through the police academy to become a policeman, Perez just couldn't seem to resist stealing. He was on the rolls of the Unemployment Office while in the Academy, and lied about being available for work. When they found out about it, they forced him to repay the $1,200 he had stolen. He had a "foul mouth," according to his fellow policemen, and had a bias against people he believed (with or without proof) were child molesters. One time he was quoted as saying: "I don't sympathize or feel sorry for child molesters, OK?"

Well, we don't feel sorry for people who sleep with their friend's wife, kidnap his children, steal, use drugs, and betray people who help them, and do it on a regular basis, either.


Perez showed his true character in another way when he arrested Fred Gaston after Gaston made a remark to him upon seeing him strike another man during a traffic stop. Apparently, he hunted Gaston down and arrested him for it. Gaston collected a $1,500 settlement from the city for false arrest and imprisonment. Gaston's case was one of six other complaints against Perez.


No one seemed to wonder about it when Perez had several of the children he had taken from their parents put into his own home as foster children. They didn't see the obvious conflict of interest such an arrangement was. And when one of his charges accused him of assaulting her, the child protectors made a cursory investigation" and cleared him, as they usually do in cases where foster children complain against foster parents -- until something bad happens. The fact that if such a complaint had come against a real parent it would have been followed to the "bitter end" doesn't seem to enter into it.


It's a known fact that most of Perez' "carefully crafted" cases have collapsed, many based on the coercive tactics he used to gain confessions from innocent people, and the "star-chamber" questioning tactics used on adults and impressionable children alike. Perez' tactics could be used as a "textbook" to teach CPS workers everywhere how to elicit confessions from innocent people and accusations of abuse from children who have not been abused.


Perez has been the subject of numerous performance evaluations in which it was noted repeatedly that he "appears egotistical," that he likes to "pick out people and target them." That he "likes having power over people," is "like a wound-up wire ready to spring," and "has the idea that people always have to do what he tells them all the time." That he "presents an image of being a hothead," and when dealing with adults, "feels challenged and is defensive."


This, then, is a picture of the man who sparked what is now being referred to as "The Wenatchee Witch Hunt." A petty thief who managed to become a policeman in spite of a criminal record and a man who likes to exercise power over others. A badge-happy" cop who likes carrying a gun. A man who consistently betrays people who befriend him and do things for him. A man who, according to one boy who was his foster child, was "always mad at me" and who didn't seem to do anything to help him, but constantly filed charges against him. A man who put bruises on one of his foster children just before she was to have testified in a case that was thrown out, a case brought only because the defendant was questioning what he was doing.


I wonder how much of this kind of thing we'd find if we delved into the backgrounds of other "child protectors." We know most of them have no children of their own, but what are their motivations?