Mary’s Story

 
Mary’s Story 10/5/92
 
By William Simonsen
Kalispell, Mont. —  (Editor’s Note: The following are women’s stories, taken from investigative records filed in Flathead County. Experts say public awareness of these problems is needed to protect other children from being sexually molested.)
For Mary (not her real name), childhood holidays weren’t filled with hope, joy and innocence.
It was during holidays — Christmas, Thanksgiving and her birthdays — that she was most often targeted by her father for sexual molestation.
Thoughts of Thanksgiving, she said, filled her with dread.
She said her father forced her to pretend she was ill on Thanksgiving, and stay home alone with him. While the rest of the family went to a relative’s house for the traditional turkey feast, she was forced to engage in seven to eight hours of continuous sex acts.
“I hated Christmas and my birthday. He would make me have sex several times a day prior to these holidays because he said he bought me really nice things and I had to earn them,” she said.
Mom was no help.
Mary said her mother once discovered her naked in bed performing sex acts with her father. Her mother asked what was going on. Her father said he was helping the girl warm up because it was a cold night.
Her mother turned and walked out of the room, Mary said.
When the family traveled, her father made her ride in the car topless so he could fondle her as her drove, she said.
She was trained by her father to say “I’m your little whore. You can do anything to me,” while having sex with him, said Mary.
Other childhood memories Mary told investigators about:
Posing for photographs nude with her father; performing sex acts with her sister while her father photographed them with an instant camera; playing strip poker with him at an age when other girls played with dolls; and being forced to perform sex on him while he was driving the family car on vacation trips.
“I would disappear inside myself and pray to the Lord” while being forced to have sexual relations with her father, Mary said.
Two abortions and 15 years after the incest began, Mary moved out of the family home.
The father of the two aborted fetuses was her own father, she said.
Medical records show she was only 13 at the time of the first abortion, 17 at the time of the second.
The father of the girl, and of the growing fetus within her, wasn’t much comfort to her.
“I remember that my dad used to tell me that he wanted to drink my milk after I had children. After I had my abortions he would suck on my breasts extra long to try to make the milk start,” she said.
Mary said her brothers probably already knew what was going on between their father and sisters. She said her father would take all five children to X-rated movies at the drive-in.
He told lthe girls to pay close attention to what the women in the movies were doing. The movies would “show us what to do to him,” she said.
The woman said she shared a bedroom with her sister. On nights when she wasn’t being forced to have sex with her father, she said she could hear her father and sister having sex in the bed across the room.
There was never any respite from the constant unwanted attentions of her father.
When the family went to the her brother’s funeral in North Dakota, her father made her have sex with him several times per day. “I remember being extra upset because I felt like now my brother could look down on us and watch what was going on. It made me feel extra dirty,” she said.
Her father was a very religious church-going man. “I always thought church was a good cover-up for dad,” she said
When her marriage became troubled several years ago, Mary sought marriage counselling.
The memories came flooding back during her psychological therapy, the woman said.
Her sister is also currently in psychological therapy in an attempt to deal with her childhood sexual abuse.
The memories haunted her until she finally told authorities about the incidents.
When the abuse was reported, a tragic chain of events was unleashed which eventually led to arrest and suicide.
Her father was charged and arrested on a number of charges of sex crimes.
Her father was following a family pattern. Mary does not know how far back in family history the pattern of abuse stretches.
Her father came from a family of four brothers.
Three of the four brothers molested Mary and her sister.
One of the brothers who molsested Mary and her sister died several years ago.
Another of the brothers is currently serving a prison sentence for unnatural and perverted sexual practice in another state.
The third brother committed suicide rather than go to prison on similar charges.
The brothers molested each others daughters, the woman said.
The fourth brother would have nothing to do with the sexual abuse, Mary told authorities.
One of Mary’s brothers is currently facing charges on sex crimes against children.
The path of sexual abuse of children, and criminal behavior, has moved from generation to generation in her family.
The family history of child sexual abuse came to light when Mary and her sister found out their father’s new wife had a teenage daughter from a previous marriage, and was filing for custody. The daughters couldn’t live with the thought of another young girl being molested.
They told their father to either drop the custody action, or they would inform authorities of his actions.
He wouldn’t drop the action so the daughters went to the sheriff with their story.
Mary said she felt she had to come forward to keep another child from being molested, officials said.
Medical records of the abortions and photographs of the father nude with the children became part of the case against him.
The sheriff turned the case over to one of the detectives to investigate.
The detective said the biggest problem with the case was the length of time which had passed between the crimes and the reporting of the crimes.
Local authorities notified the FBI and attempted to get an federal investigation started suspecting violations of the Mann Act, which forbids the transportation of minors across state lines for sexual purposes.
Federal law was no use in the case because the statute of limitations has expired by the time the crimes were reported.
Eventually, Mary’s father was charged and arrested on a number of charges of sex crimes. 
Even after being charged by authorities, the pressure on Mary to keep quiet didn’t stop.
She received telephone calls from her mother and grandmotehr asking her to just let the case drop and not testify against her father. Mary even got telephone calls from him asking her not to testify against him.
But Mary remained firm in her belief that she was acting to save another young girl from enduring the torture she had known as a child. She stood by her accusations.
Her father pleaded guilty in exchange for a reduction of the charges against him even though it meant he might spend time in prison.
The story of Tanya (not her real name) starts when she was 7 years old in the mid-1980s.
She had recently moved to Kalispell with her family and was living in an apartment next to a single man who was in his mid-forties at the time.
Tanya and her sister went for long rides in the country with the neighbor. The man had a job that entailed driving long distances in the rural areas of the county. The girls were riding along with the man “to keep him company.”
Several years after the rides in the country, Tanya remembered what had happened and told her mother.
Her mother took her to Flathead County authorities who filed sexual assault charges against the man.
Tanya and her sister testified against the man at his preliminary hearing.
He pleaded guilty, so the girls did not have to testify again.
At the sentencing hearing for the man both Tanya and her sister testified they had been molested by the man.
He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
But Tanya’s story does not end there.
Two years after the trial, she was overcome by depression and committed sucide.
One of Tanya’s friends, Laurie (not her real name), claimed she was molested by her father when she was 9 years old, in the mid-1980s.
Sexual assault charges were filed against the father when Laurie was 12 years old.
Her father pleaded not guilty to the charges, and was released on his own recognizance while awaiting trial.
The jury found him not guilty after hearing Laurie’s testimony and the testimony of her mother. Her mother testified on behalf of her father at the trial.
Four years after the trial, she attempted suicide shortly after her friend Tanya.
Laurie was unsuccessful in her attempt and is currently receiving professional counseling.
 
© 2013 William Simonsen. All rights reserved.
 
 
 
Mother Attempts To Burn Family 4/06
 
By William Simonsen
Sequim, Wash. — Charged with attempting to burn her two sons and her husband to death, Sheree Clemons appeared in District Court gagged and strapped to a chair. She did not respond to any to the judge’s questions.
She is currently back in jail awaiting her arraignment. 
Police reports allege she admitted setting fire to a room in the Sequim West where she was staying with her family.
She allegedly told officers she was trying to kill her husband Bryan Clemons, 26, and sons Shay Sullivan, 8, and Nathan Clemons, 2.
The family was staying at the motel after she had allegedly set their house on Bell Street on fire.
Clemons appeared to be semi-conscious while attorneys argued her future. The judge must now decide when, or if, she should have a mental evaluation,
Prosecutor Jill Landes argued for an immediate evaluation at a state hospital. Landes said Clemons “didn’t know who she was or where she was” shortly after her arrest.
Landes said, “We don’t know if (her condition) was the methamphetamine she was taking, or a nervous breakdown.”
But defense attorney Terry Mulligan argued that removing her from the Clallam County jail would interfere with his ability to prepare the case for trial.
“But we may want to do an evaluation later,” said Mulligan.
Judge Ken Williams said he was not ready to rule on the evaluation.
“She is in a safe place at this point,” he said..
Without a ruling, she was taken back to jail. She is being held in lieu of $250,000 bail.
It was her third appearance in court in five days.
No visitors, except her lawyers, are allowed to visit her in the jail.
The investigation of the house and motel fires that landed her in jail continues while she waits.
The motel fire was investigated immediately as a possible arson. Sequim Fire Department personnel initially said the Bell Street house fire was accidental, but were examining the house again.
Members of Clemons family claim she was never in legal trouble before. A search of legal cases in Clallam County yielded no previous record.
Her husband, Bryan Clemons, was arrested for alleged methamphetamine possession at the house on Bell Street the day before the first fire.
 
© 2013 William Simonsen. All rights reserved. 
 
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