By Lisa Jacobs
The following is the true story of the false prosecution of Pastor Ryan Wonderly and the on-going investigation into wrongful imprisonment of this innocent Oklahoma man.
Pastor Ryan Wonderly
Sex abuse/child abuse is most definitely a major problem in our nation. Many legitimate cases are prosecuted, however, many innocent people are prosecuted as well.
An adult accused of sexual misconduct with a child is automatically assumed guilty and must try to prove his/her innocence. In fact, accusations of sex crimes against a child commonly assume the accused is guilty until proven innocent. This becomes an up-hill battle in the court system due to the fact that a person charged with a sex crime can’t bring much if any evidence into court because of rules in place to purportedly protect the victim, when they in fact deny the accused a fair and impartial trial.
To make an accusation of sexual misconduct toward an adult a child need only point a finger. Once the lie is told by the child or obtained by a vindictive adult, it is repeated over and over, bolstered by so-called “professionals” and is eventually believed by the child.
The accused is then in an often futile battle to try and disprove the false allegations. It has been stated by the media, Dr. Phil and those of authority, such as judges, “It is better to have an innocent person in prison than a guilty one on the streets.” This statement seems logical to most of us until a loved one or friend finds himself/herself in these shoes facing an uncertain future. BE AWARE!
Don’t take the above statements wrongly. We certainly believe that a proven child molester should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. The caution is against the witch hunt that starts once an accusation is made. In Oklahoma nearly 78% of divorces involving children result in accusations being made against the father. A complaint is made and accusations of some sort of misconduct with his children or step children are filed. Very few, very few of these are found to be true, yet there are many imprisoned for years over false statements made in a bitter divorce.
The mere mention of child molestation causes an entire community to become enraged, but it would do well for the entire community to research the facts before turning on a neighbor or stranger as was done in the Wenatchee Witch Hunt in Washington State in the early 1990’s. The brief synopsis is that a children’s minister and his wife along with some Sunday school teachers were accused of ritual sexual misconduct with children. Three years later, the investigations had fallen apart amidst accusations of abuses by police and state social workers, false confessions, badgered child witnesses, and evidence based on the generally discredited “recovered memory” theory. The cases eventually came to be known as the Wenatchee Witch Hunt and put Wenatchee, Washington on the front pages of newspapers all across America. The investigation began in 1992 when a lie was told about a child’s genitals being touched. This lie spawned sensational fabrications by law enforcement and Child Protection Services (the same as DHS in Oklahoma), which lead to coerced statements and false accusations. Accusations haunt the innocent Pastor and wife, now victims of false prosecution, to this day.
Our Constitution states in the Sixth Amendment: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.
In Oklahoma County, the child who makes the accusation is immediately scheduled for counseling with the Care Center where “trained” counselors push for a confession by the child as to the “circumstances” of the alleged abuse. There is much pointing and directing by the counselor to an outline of a person until the “confession” is made by the child and immediately the interview is over. The interview is monitored by the prosecution and police detectives through a two-way mirror and a hearing device which is worn by the “counselor.” The “counselor” is told what to ask and repeats suggestive questions over and over until a “confession” is made by the child.
Funding for the Care Center is somewhat ambiguous. Sources tell the Oklahoma US Observer that a portion of the funds come from a state grant through the so called “Multidisciplinary Account” and the remainder of funding through private donations and gifts. The Multidisciplinary Account is funded through the filing of law suits. A portion of the filing fee for a law suit is diverted to this account. The Care Center has the appearance of being a warm and friendly place but if you want to drop in for a visit you may have a difficult time in doing so.
The response to requesting a visit from the person who answers the phone at the Care Center is less than friendly. It is a secretive place. The address isn’t given unless you have a child going for “counseling”; usually a referral from a police department, various district attorneys, Children’s Hospital or DHS. It is easy to understand that they want to protect the children, but because the Care Center is funded by the State of Oklahoma and is a public place, why the secrecy?
One answer could be in a comment made by a well known attorney in Oklahoma County. Let’s say his name is Bill. The case of a falsely accused person was being related to Bill. Bill listened intently and was surprised that charges would have been filed in this particular case. But when the story got around to the accusers being “counseled” by the Care Center Bill said, “If all of the accusers have been to the Care Center, I don’t need to hear any more.”
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE
CARE CENTER IS INVOLVED
The accused hires the best defense attorney he/she can afford, feeling confident a time will come at trial where innocence will be proven. The attorney gladly takes the accused’s money and makes promising statements on his/her behalf. Naively, the accused continues to believe in the “justice” system, the attorney and the hope of a fair trial. The trial date for which the accused has pushed finally arrives. The accused thinks it is finally his/her chance to tell the truth, to have his side of the story told and heard. Finally a chance to prove innocence once and for all.
The lies in the courtroom against the accused are unbelievable. Everything has been twisted. Even the most innocent of incidents has been twisted in favor of the prosecution. The prosecution is out to win. It’s nothing less than a game where only one side gets to play; a game where the accused’s life is at stake, a game without rules for the accused and all sorts of rules in favor of the accuser and the prosecution. The accused is starting to realize the high-powered defense attorney isn’t saying much and if he does the prosecution objects and the motions are sustained by the judge. The same judge who two days previously stated in the courtroom she has read the police report and the charges and she believes the accused is guilty. This type of judicial misconduct from Judge Twyla Mason Gray is widely known and feared by every defense attorney in Oklahoma County. A fair and impartial judge? A trial before a jury of your peers?
BE VERY AWARE!
Three days into the trial the tide may be turning in the accuser’s direction. The first witness has been called by the prosecution and once again the story is different than has been told before. By now the story has changed five times. With each re-telling the well coached accusation becomes worse. But this time, while on the stand, the accuser can’t keep the story straight so the prosecutor helps in creating the story with leading questions. A small seed of hope is sprouting. Maybe justice will be served! After returning from lunch, the judge calls counsel into her chambers. Counsel returns to the courtroom. The high-powered attorney looks ashen and calls the accused and the family into the hall outside the courtroom. It’s at this point the accused is told he has a choice to make . . . take a plea or face up to 600 years in prison. The group moves into the courthouse law library and a friend of the high-powered defense attorney is called in to help counsel the family. All of the professionals are in agreement that a plea is the way to go. An Alford Plea, as explained by the attorneys, “isn’t a plea of guilt but will get a lesser sentence.” Once again . . . an untruth has been told. The court looks at the Alford Plea as a guilty plea.
THIS COULD HAPPEN TO YOU…
OR SOMEONE YOU LOVE!
There is no accounting for justice in this case. Ask yourself, “What would I do?” “I know I’m innocent!” The judge has allowed the prosecution free reign of the court room. The lies that have been told about you, unanswered and unquestioned because your attorney either won’t speak or can’t speak… False charges stacked and the evidence used against you are falsified by former D.A. Wes Lane and prosecutors Patricia High and James Siderias… Your entire life threatened by the corrupt judge, Twyla Gray, and the promise from her of life imprisonment. Never an opportunity to have your side told, your witnesses heard, no evidence from medical examinations. All the tests and profiles that you passed were for naught. Nothing that can be found by science or medicine that says you could have done this. This nightmare is all because the prosecutor is allowed to use hear-say as evidence. Yet you’re told you should throw yourself at the mercy of the court. Take the plea and hope for the best. “There is no way Twyla will give you life.” Just take the plea.
PUT YOURSELF IN THE SHOES OF THE ACCUSED
What would you do? Odds are you too would take the plea. How many of us would want to chance life in prison for something we didn’t do? How many of us would ever believe this could happen. This is not how the justice system works according to eighth grade civics class. This isn’t how it works on television and it certainly isn’t how our Founding Fathers envisioned our justice system. Perhaps it is true what Attorney John Coyle says, “This is the injustice system at work.” What would you do? Life in prison? A chance at life in the future? What would you do?
Any innocent person who is falsely accused should always maintain his/her innocence regardless of the consequences or the number of stacked charges the court throws at them. Being naïve of how the “system works and trusting legal counsel, causes those who have never had run-ins with the law to get “railroaded”. They are taken advantage of in the courtroom because they are unaware of how the system really works and their attorney sure won’t tell them! This is how defense attorneys make a living.
The above is a true story. . . The story of Pastor Ryan Wonderly, former Elementary Children’s Pastor at Bethany First Church of the Nazarene in Bethany Oklahoma. This same scenario plays out across our country daily. We must become aware of what is happening around us and to us or our justice system will become even more corrupt. Everyone has the Constitutional right to a fair trial by a jury of peers with a fair and impartial judge presiding. This means both sides must be heard without the judge forcing a plea.
WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY
A noted physician states “it could not have happened.” The accusations and charges against the children’s pastor are rape by instrumentation. Each accuser was asked if there was any pain or did it hurt? Each accuser answered “no”. This question was asked multiple times and the answer was always the same, “NO”. At the young ages these girls were when the acts were allegedly committed; the Doctor says the girls would have experienced immense pain. The physical damage would have been immediately noticed by the parents. The accusers would have been in uncomfortable pain for days and would have experienced bleeding. A psychologist says if these acts had occurred the accusers would not have wanted to associate with Mr. Wonderly yet they continued to want to be around him for nearly four more years and spoke positively about him to friends and family. Had Ryan Wonderly not been forced by a corrupt judge to take a plea these noted Doctors would have testified under oath to the above statements.
An interview transcript is also quite revealing as to the suppression of evidence in favor of Ryan Wonderly’s innocence. That transcript states one of the accusers told a long time friend that “Ryan never touched me”. The prosecution badgered the long time friend on two separate occasions for hours in an attempt to change her testimony. The truth could not be changed. “Ryan never touched me.” If you’ll remember the stories of the young accusers are different at every telling. If the truth is the truth the story won’t change. Ryan Wonderly’s story has never changed. He continues to anguish over the lies told about him.
Editor’s Note: Our investigations into the false accusations and false imprisonment of Ryan Wonderly are extensive. Mr. Wonderly was denied due process of the law and in this Editor’s opinion, and the opinion of legal and medical council, Ryan Wonderly has experienced the Oklahoma version of the Wenatchee Witch Hunt.
Mr. Wonderly maintains his innocence and waits in prison for those who lied about him to come forward with the truth.