A Pentecostal minister, his wife and a Sunday school teacher who were acquitted of charges in the 1994-95 Wenatchee child sex cases have settled a civil rights lawsuit against the state for $850,000.
Four days before the trial was to begin, the Rev. Robert "Roby" Roberson wrote to supporters Thursday that the amount was "nothing close to what we were asking for." But, he said, "[we] felt with all of our financial obligations and debts and attorneys' expenses that this was the prudent thing to do."
State Department of Social and Health Services spokeswoman Kathy Spears confirmed the settlement of the lawsuit, which alleged that state social workers violated the plaintiffs' civil rights and interfered with their family relationships.
In addition to Roberson, the other plaintiffs were his wife, Connie; their 9-year-old daughter, Rebekah; and religious school teacher Honnah Sims, her husband, Jon, and their 18-year-old son, Daniel.
The adult Robersons and Sims also alleged that the social workers' actions led to their false arrest and imprisonment.
Because of a paperwork error, the case was split off from a $60 million civil rights lawsuit filed by Roberson and others that also included as defendants Wenatchee police and the Douglas County sheriff's office staff. A Seattle jury rejected the civil rights claims in 1998. That decision has been appealed.