Court records indicate the state will seek to have Charles Emery, 83, civilly committed after he was diagnosed with a major neurocognitive disorder and pedophilia.

Share story

The eldest of three Seattle brothers charged this summer with possessing a massive collection of sexually explicit images of children won’t face criminal charges because of his advanced dementia, though the cases against his younger brothers continue to move forward.

Charles Emery, who turned 83 this past month, was diagnosed with a major neurocognitive disorder and pedophiliaand was found incompetent to stand trial, with doctors at Western State Hospital also determining he is at an elevated risk for dangerous behavior, according to the hospital’s forensic-evaluation report filed in King County Superior Court. It is expected the state will seek to have him civilly committed at a mental institution.

Though Charles Emery’s name still appears in the online King County Jail roster, a jail spokesman confirmed Tuesday that he remains at the psychiatric hospital.

Emery and his brothers, Thomas Emery, 80, and Edwin Emery, who turns 79 on Friday, were each charged in August with two counts of second-degree possession of depictions of minors engaged in sexual conduct.

Most Read Stories

Cyber Sale! Save 90% on digital access.

Thomas and Edwin Emery each remain jailed in lieu of $500,000 bail. Case-setting hearings in their cases were scheduled for Tuesday but have since been continued to later this month, according to prosecutors.

The investigation by the Seattle Police Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children unit was touched off when a relative was cleaning out the men’s garage and came across boxes filled with obscene materials, which were turned over to police, according to charges filed in the sex-abuse images case.

The three brothers lived together for more than 50 years in a two-story, Victorian house on Northeast 59th Street that Seattle police say was jampacked with sexually explicit images and videos of young girls, along with girls’ clothing, shoes, toys and handwritten notes about girls being kidnapped, raped, tortured and killed. Some of the materials dated back decades. There was also evidence that indicated the brothers had sexually abused family members, according to the charges.

Sources have previously said the statute of limitations on child molestation had run out long before the brothers came to the attention of Seattle police.

Police also searched the dilapidated Shelton, Mason County, home of their oldest brother, Don Emery, who died late last year at age 85. The search turned up additional sexual images of children, police said at the time.

Searches of the 14-acre property with cadaver dogs, as well searches of the brothers’ Seattle house, did not appear to turn up evidence of homicide.

On Oct. 24, Superior Court Judge Sean O’Donnell signed an order dismissing the charges against Charles Emery, based on the forensic evaluation conducted at Western State, court records show. O’Donnell’s order indicates the state will seek to have Charles Emery civilly committed.

The state Attorney General’s Office is responsible for filing petitions of civil commitment when a criminal defendant is found to be incompetent and the trial court determines it’s unlikely competency will be restored through treatment, according to state law.

A spokeswoman for Attorney General Bob Ferguson cited state law and federal patient-privacy laws in explaining why she was unable to answer questions about the likelihood of Charles Emery’s civil commitment.

His forensic evaluation, which is part of the Superior Court record, provides details about his diagnosis. Because Emery walked out on an interview with a forensic psychologist at Western State, the report is based on a review of jail and medical records, discovery materials in the criminal case and behavioral observations by hospital staff, according to the evaluation.

When he was admitted Sept. 28, Emery was asked if he knew why he was at the hospital — and he responded, “I came here to get my driver’s license renewed,” the report says. During his first evening on the ward, he paced a common area, believing he was at Boeing, where he had worked as a machinist.

The next day, the report says he asked a nurse several times “if we could have a dance for the kids,” saying “he doesn’t care what type of music, ‘I just like to watch them.’ ” Later that night, he discussed using explosives on children, blaming them for getting in the way and explaining only pieces of them would be found, the report says.