A man in Lebanon was convicted guilty of s*xually abusing a minor over a period of more than two decades. Wesley Clarence Wright, 59, was found guilty on all five counts of first-degree s*xual abuse, five counts of first-degree unlawful s*xual penetration, first-degree sodomy, and first-degree rape after a bench trial in Linn County Circuit Court on Monday, February 6.
When these offences were committed, the victim was between the ages of 4 and 9. There is no longer any doubt that she is 30 years old.
In his opening remarks, Prosecutor Alex Olenick remarked to McHill,
“I’m going to ask you to do what I’d ask a jury to do — believe her,”
The victim, whose identity is being concealed by Mid-Valley Media, testified Monday morning. She wept as she described the events that occurred to her many years ago.
According to the victim, she frequently spent the night at Wright’s house in Lebanon when she was a child. They shared a room and a bed, and they did everything together, from eating to watching TV to sleeping. She claimed that every night before bed, Wright would give her a “vitamin.” She claimed that it was only after many years that she discovered the vitamins were actually melatonin.
Wright argued otherwise, saying they were actually Flintstones vitamin chews. The victim said that Wright would touch her inappropriately while they were in bed together. Such behavior was typical. Wright reportedly urged her, “Let’s try something different,” before raping her. Moreover, the victim testified that he forced her to engage in oral s*x with him.
These crimes occurred almost 20 years ago, but the victim did not report them until 2021. She said that she had been encouraged to come out sooner. In 2019, her husband reported the abuse to authorities after hearing about it from his wife. According to the victim and her husband, this led to problems in their marriage.
Her husband explained, “She just wasn’t ready.” He claimed he wanted to help his abused wife after witnessing her “meltdowns.” The victim’s mother claimed her daughter occasionally expressed reluctance to visit Wright without providing an explanation.
The mother reflected on how her daughter changed as she grew older, noting that she seemed more careless and that she always seemed to be tense, as though she had something she wanted to say. The victim revealed the abuse to her mother when she was an adult, and the mother filed a police report. However, her mother claimed the sheriff’s office told them she had no authority to make such a decision.
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Therefore, what shifted for the victim? Her own children, she remarked. According to the victim’s testimony, things changed after she and her spouse made the decision to start a family. I didn’t want to have to explain to my kids why I avoided him. So,” she reflected, “I had to do something about it.
Detective Dakotah Hinrichs of the Linn County Sheriff’s Office went to the residence where the crimes took place, as he said in court. From the victim’s description, he decided to photograph the interior of the house. New owners, though, had given it a facelift. To continue their conversation, Hinrichs eventually visited Wright at his home.
If Hinrichs’ testimony is to be believed, Wright kept interrupting him so much that he never got a chance to explain why he was there. Wright appeared “agitated,” refused to cooperate with authorities, and insisted that he had never been alone with the victim.
During his testimony, Hinrichs said that Wright was the one who brought up the victim’s name, and that he had never mentioned it. In June, police made an arrest on Wright. Since then, he has been incarcerated in Linn County.
One of a Child’s Most Important Skills is Memory
Arnold Poole, an Albany defense attorney, cast doubt on the veracity of the victim’s recollections. He probed her frequently about her knowledge of her age at the time of various events and her suspicion that Wright had been administering melatonin to her. To explain how old she was, she recalled past birthdays.
He challenged her memory for specifics at her tender age and questioned her tardiness in coming forward. Wright testified that he was innocent and that he was not the subject of any complaints.
“It’s wrong. That’s a child — I wouldn’t do that,”
According to him, the victim slept in bed with him when she visited. Additionally, he denied ever giving her melatonin. Wright said that he had no idea why the alleged victim was making the charges but that she might be exaggerating in order to get some limelight.
Wright and the victim haven’t talked in seven or eight years, and their relationship has grown cold since the incidents. Wright’s son and father testified on his behalf, claiming they had no reason to believe the victim was involved in any criminal activity.