Kids Deny Sexual Abuse After Father Spends 20 Years In Jail

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.


About the author

Lisa Arneill

Mom of 2 boys and founder of GrowingYourBaby.com and World Traveled Family. When I'm not running around after my boys, I'm looking for our next vacation spot!


  • Seems that the prosecutors in Clark County, Washington have nothing better to do than spend state tax dollars. Not only did they stand by and allow an innocent man to spend 20 years of his life behind bars but now after a governor commuted the sentence and the appellate court is going to vacate the conviction, they are threatening to take it on to the State Supreme Court! Enough is enough. This will not only cost thousands and thousands of tax payer dollars and for what? Mr. Spencer has served the time and has a governors commutation. You cannot send the man back to prison. Where is the justice in this county. Apparently the corruption did not end in 1985. As a tax payer I am all for a recall on these elected officials. They were incompetent then and they are incompetent now. Step up people and be heard. These tax dollars could better be spent on our schools than trying to cover the butts of the those that belong to the “Good Old Boys Club”.

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