Three elderly brothers were interviewed by Seattle police in 2013 after “child erotica” was found on a computer one of them took in for repair. No charges were filed then, but the brothers were charged Monday with possessing images of child-sex abuse in a new investigation.
Back in 2013, 20 images found on a computer used by one of three elderly Seattle brothers included child erotica, but King County prosecutors determined they didn’t meet the standard for filing child-exploitation charges, a spokesman said Tuesday.
No charges were ever filed against Edwin Emery, now 78, who took the computer in for repair, prompting staff at a computer store to contact Seattle police.
But police say he did admit to sexually abusing two female relatives, according to charges filed against him and his two brothers on Monday. It appears the statute of limitations for child molestation had long run out by then.
The images found on the computer in January 2013 depicted “child erotica, nudist-colony activity and several lascivious display images,” say charging documents.
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“The case was reviewed by a deputy prosecutor and ICAC (Internet Crimes Against Children) investigators, and it was determined that the images did not meet filing standards for exploitation crimes against children,” Dan Donohoe, a spokesman for Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, wrote in an email Tuesday about the 2013 investigation. “As a result, we would not be able to prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt and charges were not filed.”
Four years later, a witness provided new evidence, which led Edwin Emery and his brothers Charles Emery, 82, and Thomas Emery, 80, to each be charged with two counts of second-degree possession of depictions of minors engaged in sexual conduct. They remain jailed in lieu of $500,000 bail.
Seattle police detectives who interviewed the Emery brothers in 2013 are involved in the ongoing investigation against them, which was touched off earlier this month when a relative was cleaning out the men’s garage and came across boxes filled with obscene materials, which were turned over to police, say charges filed in the sex-abuse images case.
Charging papers say the house the three brothers have shared since 1962 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.
Charles Emery was a janitor at Seattle Children’s hospital from the 1970s through the 1990s, according to the charges. However, the hospital said Tuesday his employment had not been confirmed.
“We are devastated to hear this news, and our hearts go out to the children and families involved,” the hospital said in a statement. “Given the considerable length of time that has passed since Charles Emery allegedly worked here, we have not yet been able to confirm his relationship with Seattle Children’s through our records. We are in communication with the King County Prosecutor on the investigation.”
There were no signs of police activity on Tuesday at the brothers’ two-story Victorian house on Northeast 59th Street. But charges say members of ICAC, which includes Seattle police detectives and Homeland Security agents, spent 30 hours searching the brothers’ home and detached garage and were also searching a property in Shelton, Mason County, that belonged to their older brother who is now deceased.
Charles Emery had stored items at the Shelton home and at other locations, the charges say.
Neighbors who live in the residential area between Green Lake and Wallingford were still in shock about the allegations against the three men, two of whom, according to charges, are suspected of sexually abusing three generations of female relatives and possibly other young girls.
Even more disturbing was news that Charles Emery, the eldest of the three, allegedly wrote notes about kidnapping, raping, torturing and killing girls.
“I’m just hoping that’s warped fantasy. It’s going to be devastating if we find out otherwise,” Judy Powell, who has lived in the neighborhood for 21 years, said Tuesday.
Jen Fox, who lives two doors down from the brothers, said Charles Emery once offered to write her 7-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son letters and postcards. Fox quickly nixed the idea.
“It’s horrific there’s someone my kids have encountered in our neighborhood who has been part of such an investigation. It’s scary,” she said, noting there are three schools and two preschools within a five- or six-block radius of the brothers’ home.
Edwin and Thomas Emery were arrested Friday when they returned home while police were executing a search warrant at their house, the charges say.
On Nextdoor, a neighborhood social-networking site, people living nearby quickly shared news of the police activity that stretched into Saturday.
“It’s related to child exploitation. I’ve been sick to my stomach. The brothers are all in jail. SPD is very tight lipped. There’s another crime scene outside the city. That’s all I know,” one resident wrote.
On Monday, a police detective went to the Queen Anne residential-care facility where Charles Emery was living, apparently due to dementia, charging papers say.
A sample of his DNA was collected, and police say he claimed the writings found in the house on Northeast 59th Street “were all fantasy,” say the charges. He was transported to jail in an ambulance.
“Though I do not claim to have a medical understanding of Charles’ memory and mental condition, I do believe Charles understood the nature of my questions and the consequences of his answers. In my opinion, many of the things Charles stated he did not remember or know was based on his desire to not be held accountable,” a Seattle police detective wrote in charging papers. “This opinion is supported by my contact with him in the 2013 investigation, and based on my interactions with his brothers, who also demonstrated similar interview-blocking techniques.”
Information in this article, originally published Aug. 22, 2017, was corrected,Aug. 23, 2017. A previous version of this story gave incorrect ages for two of the three Seattle brothers charged with possession of depictions of minors engaged in sexual conduct. Thomas Emery is 80 years old and Edwin Emery is 78.