Former Vancouver police officer Clyde Ray Spencer spent nearly 20 years in prison after he was convicted of sexually molesting his son and daughter. Now, his kids say it never happened.
Matthew Spencer, 33 and Kathryn Tetz, 30 who live in Sacramento, Calif., each took the stand Friday in Clark County Superior Court to clear their father’s name.
Matthew, who was 9 years old at the time or the alleged abuse, told a judge he made the claims after months of insistent questioning by now-retired Clark County sheriff’s detective Sharon Krause just so she would leave him alone.
Kathryn said she doesn’t remember what she told Krause back in 1985, but she remembers Krause buying her ice cream. She said that when she finally read the police reports she was “absolutely sure” the abuse never happened.
“I would have remembered something that graphic, that violent,” Tetz said.
In 2004, Clyde Ray Spencer’s sentence was reduced by then-Gov. Gary Locke after questions arose about his conviction. Among other problems, prosecutors withheld medical exams that showed no evidence of abuse, even though Krause claimed the abuse was repeated and violent.
Despite the commutation, Clyde remains a convicted sex offender. He is hoping to have the convictions overturned.
Sharon Krause declined an interview request from The Columbian in 2005 and could not be reached Friday.
Both children said that while growing up in California they were told by their mother, who divorced Spencer before he was charged, that they were blocking out the memory of the abuse.
They said they realized as adults the abuse never happened, and they came forward because it was the right thing to do.
After a Friday, which hearing paved the way for the state Court of Appeals to allow Spencer to withdraw the no-contest pleas he entered in 1985 and have his convictions vacated Spencer, 61, hugged his son and daughter while a dozen supporters cheered.
“For so many years, nothing went right,” he said. “When things keep going right, I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.”
The hardest thing about his ordeal was missing his children, he said.
“They were my life, and they were taken away from me,” he said. “I could serve in prison. …”
His voice trailed off, and his son came up for one more hug.
Wow! Twenty years in prison is a lot of time to serve when haven’t done anything wrong.