Mother in child-abuse case says she also was victim She seeks bail, but judge asks why she stayed silent for years, by Ruth Liao, Statesman Journal, August 14, 2008

OREGON - An attorney for a Turner woman facing a long list of abuse and child neglect charges with her husband argued in court Wednesday that she should be freed on bail because she was just as much of a victim as her nine children. Marion County Circuit Judge Thomas Hart disagreed. He set bail at $1.03 million for Robyn Kay Drown, 42, and denied bail for her husband, Graydon C. Drown, 48.

The two were arrested June 19 by Marion County deputies at their rural Turner home after anonymous reports of child abuse.

Each was indicted on 11 felony counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment and 14 counts of second-degree assault. The indictments indicate that plastic pipes, 2-by-4 boards and switches were used by the couple to injure their children. The case is set to go to trial in mid-December.

At the bail hearing Wednesday, attorney Brooke Holstedt told the judge that his client, Robyn Drown, was forced by her husband to punish the children or stand with her nose against the wall when she was eight months pregnant as her own punishment.

"'She's been through 22 years of hell," Holstedt said.

But 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.

Holstedt also argued that Robyn Drown's friend, Julie Whitewater of Corvallis, had offered her a place to stay while the case is pending. Robyn Drown also would not attend Temple Beth Sholom, where the family had attended for several years, Holstedt said.

Tracy Gregg, an attorney representing the children, said some of the older siblings indicated that they would like to see their mother and also thought she was a victim.

The eldest child of the Drowns, Anya Warde, 22, wrote to Hart, asking that her parents be kept in jail. Warde, who lives in Sacramento, said she was concerned for the safety of her minor siblings.

Warde is the oldest of the Drowns' three adult children. As minors, they were taken from their parents and placed in protective custody by child welfare officials when the family lived in Shingle Springs, Calif.

Graydon Drown's attorney, Stephen A. Lipton, said his client had no criminal history and no recent arrests. Lipton said Graydon Drown could stay with one of his acquaintances, a Lyons man.

Marion County deputy district attorney Sarah Morris said two of the children had fears that their father, if released, would kill them.

Child welfare officials reported that the children regularly have scheduled visits with one another and are doing well in foster care, said Greg Parker, a spokesman for Oregon Department of Human Services. "We continue to evaluate the children's needs and are in the process of reviewing several placement resources for the children," Parker said.

Whitewater was disappointed by Hart's ruling Wednesday. Whitewater said she has kept in touch with Robyn Drown through phone and mail during her incarceration.

"She really had high hopes for today," Whitewater said. or (503) 589-6941

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