15 Dec 2008

Oregon parents face 25 each in charges of child abuse

Portland Independent Media Center    December 15, 2008

by Erica Halfpenny

Robyn and Graydon Drown of Turner Oregon have been in custody since June on charges of assault with a weapon and criminal neglect. Their nine children, ranging from 6 weeks to sixteen years at the time of the arrest, have been in protective custody. Robyn and Graydon Drown, residents of Turner Oregon and biological parents of 12 children, have been in custody at Marion County Correctional Facility since June 19th 2008. Both were indicted on 11 felony counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment and 14 counts of second-degree assault against their nine youngest children. The children, ranging from 6 weeks to sixteen years at the time of the arrest, have been in protective custody. In Placer County, California in the 1990s, at very young ages, the three oldest children of Robyn and Graydon Drown were removed from their parent's custody and were raised by his extended family.

While pregnant with their fourth child, the oldest of the nine who have recently been placed in protective custody, it is alleged that Robyn and Graydon Drown fled California to Alaska to ensure they could raise their newborn with their harsh form of discipline and avoid paying child support for the oldest three. The Drowns and her family, by the last name of Lewis, of Anchorage, were members of the radical Worldwide Church of God in Alaska. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worldwide_Church_of_God ) The Drowns moved to Oregon a couple of years ago and claim to have recently converted to Judaism, however acquaintances say that they are not Jewish and their religion changes to suit their circumstances.

According to jail documents filed by Marion County Detective Martin Bennett, two of the children told Marion County investigators that their parents regularly delivered "punishments" with two-by-fours, pieces of pipe, and switches. They also told authorities that in a fit of anger their father killed their pet goat in front of them. Documents also said the children feared they would receive more beatings at home if they told the truth to those who inquired about their injuries, so they rehearsed stories to explain away the reasons for any obvious injuries. Although Robyn and Graydon Drown claim to have "home schooled" all of the children, apparently few of them could even read at the time of their parent's arrest. The children were isolated from their peers and moved often.

The oldest adult child, who had been removed from her parents home in California as a minor almost two decades ago, wrote a heart-wrenching plea to Judge Hart in July. She said she was concerned for the safety of her minor siblings and asked that both parents be held without bail. ( http://www.statesmanjournal.com/assets/pdf/J0114263731.PDF ) Bail was subsequently denied for the father, Graydon, and set at $1.03 million for Robyn - an amount she did not meet. Robyn Drown's defence strategy is to now claim she is also victim, but it is being strongly refuted by many who know the couple, and Judge Hart said he wanted a better explanation of why the abuse went unreported for so long. "How does this go on for so many years?" Hart said. Their few supporters claim "government conspiracy" and "religious persecution" are the motives for the arrests.

The children had never visited a doctor, dentist, or had an eye examination. The youngest children were often left in the care of the older children, and it is alleged that neither parent provided much actual parenting. The children are now in foster care, and have received medical attention, dental care, and glasses. They have been provided the opportunity to attend school, and to visit each other regularly. Authorities learned of the alleged abuse from an anonymous tipster who told detectives he saw one of the boys with an injury, which was the size of a baseball, on the back of his head.

Both Robyn and Graydon Drown will face Judge Hart on Monday December 15, 2008 in a trial slated to last three days. ( http://apps.co.marion.or.us/JailRosters/mccfi_mcso.htm )

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  1. Robyn Drown received 20+ years and Graydon Drown was sentenced to 28+ years. No possibility of parole or early release is possible for either. Long enough that all of their children will be over eighteen when they are released. Considering the nature and severity of the neglect and abuse they got off pretty easy.

    As expected aside from a few of the Drown's friends the "government conspiracy" and "religious persecution" crowds so quick to cry foul immediately after the arrests had nothing to say after the verdict.

    Robyn Drown's mother and sister continue to insist that Robyn Drown is "completely innocent". Apparently the judge, jury and just about everyone else who knew the Drown's are all wrong (and evil, after all PAID expert testified that Robyn Drown suffers from Stockholm syndrome and apparently that testimony should have been enough to explain all of Robyn Drown's behavior. The reason Robyn Drown kept having baby after baby, knowing they would all be abused, could not be explained away by the "expert" or by Robyn's supporters.

    All the children testified that their mother as well as their father beat them. Yet her sister Heather Larson has actually stated that Robyn Drown was never even present when the kids were abused. All the abuse was at the hand of her husband Graydon Drown! Either the trial evidence, tape of a child being beaten with Robyn Drown clearly heard speaking in the back round was fabricated or Heather Larson lives in a alternate reality, one were no matter what evidence there is to the contrary, whatever she believes magically becomes true.

    What happened to these children is inexcusable which is why both Robyn and Graydon Drown are exactly where they need to be. I doubt that either will ever understand what they have done much less regret any of it but at least they have been removed from society. Now I hope the children are in families that are giving them everything they should have been provided had they been born to the loving and caring parents at all children deserve.

  2. I posted a follow up article on the sentencing of the Drowns, which you may have missed. You can read it at:


  3. Livin In the USA14 August 2011 at 13:25

    There were three older children removed when the two youngest were toddlers; they were turned in by Graydon's parents, also members of WWCoG. At last check, it is the only group in the US listed by the FBI as a cult.

    These people are nuts, period. I know them personally & they never should have been allowed to procreate. To blame one or the other is complete fallacy - they BOTH did this & the sentence for what they have done is not enough. My heart bleeds for the children.