Police: Multiple sex abuse victims accuse elderly N. Seattle brothers
SEATTLE - Multiple victims have now come forward and told investigators that they were sexually abused by three elderly North Seattle brothers found living in a home filled floor-to-ceiling with child pornography, a Seattle police detective said Friday at a sentencing hearing for one of the three Emery brothers.
But King County Superior Court Judge Mary Roberts said she could sentence Thomas Emery to no more than the maximum of nine months in jail for possession of child pornography - because no charges have been filed in connection with the alleged sexual abuse.
The judge also said she had no legal authority to prevent Emery from returning to his home in a Green Lake neighborhood after his sentence is served even though a neighbor testified at the hearing that the Emery brothers had watched and tried to talk to his two preteen daughters across the fence that separates their back yards.
"I ask you to think about the neighbors in making this sentence," the neighbor said.
The judge did, however, place Emery on probation after his sentence is served and severely limited his contact with minors.
"The overall picture is really horrific," Judge Mary Roberts said. She said Thomas Emery may be less culpable than his two brothers, but he had "certain knowledge" of what was going on in the house.
Seattle police detective Danial Conine said the multiple victims who have come forward are shedding new light on the investigation into the three brothers.
"We have had victims come forward who were hands-on victims of sexual abuse from the Emery family who are actively coming forward as recently as the last couple of weeks," Detective Danial Conine said at the King County Superior Court hearing. "We very much anticipate that additional victims will come forward."
He called the investigation into the brothers "very active" and continuing. He said explicit computer search terms found on the Emery brothers' computer showed they had been actively looking for victims to molest. "This shows a willingness to actively find children which they can prey upon," Conine said.
Police said the investigation into the three brothers began last summer when a relative discovered evidence of child exploitation as she was cleaning out the garage of the home her three uncles had shared for 55 years.
When Seattle police searched the home, they said they found it packed floor-to-ceiling with child pornography and children's toys and clothes - though the men have no children of their own.
A prosecutor wrote that the brothers - Edwin, Thomas and Charles Emery - each "has a sexual interest in minor children and have shared the majority of their lives sexually abusing children to whom they had access and exploiting children depicted in child pornography."
Police said the three had sexually abused female relatives and that the abuse stretched back to when the brothers were young boys.
Edwin Emery was earlier sentenced to nine months in jail on the same two child pornography counts as his brother Thomas.
Charges have been dropped against the eldest brother, 82-year-old Charles Emery, after a Superior Court judge ruled that he is mentally ill with dementia and lacks the capacity to understand the proceedings and assist in his own defense. Now that charges have been dismissed against him, the process now will begin to civilly commit him.