Son Wants Father Kept In Prison

OLYMPIA - In dramatic and emotional testimony yesterday, the son of a man imprisoned for rape urged the state Pardons and Clemency Board not to set his father free.

"I was physically and sexually abused by my father," Chad Ingram, his voice choking, told the board in surprise testimony. "I was ashamed of it, but I'm not afraid to hide anymore. He has to pay for his crimes."

Ingram's brief words came near the end of a 90-minute hearing before the clemency board, which is considering a petition by Paul Ingram, former Thurston County deputy sheriff who has been imprisoned for nearly eight years after he confessed to sexually abusing his two daughters.

The board made no ruling, promising a decision in September. Since Ingram has exhausted his legal appeals, the board is his last chance for mercy.

Chad Ingram, 27, was the only family member at the hearing.

He said the abuse, which began when he was 4 and continued until he left home at age 16, left such a scar that it has cost him jobs and his marriage.

Ingram's wife is divorcing him, and he has held 24 jobs, losing his last one recently. He said he can't make commitments, he can't trust anyone. He mourns the childhood he said he never had.

Paul Ingram's attorney, Hugh McGavick, said Chad's testimony illustrates how a "witch hunt" orchestrated by Thurston County officers damaged and destroyed the Ingram family.

Ingram, now being held in a Delaware prison for his protection, said his confession was coerced by so-called "repressed memories."

When his daughters in 1988 accused him of sexual abuse, he initially denied the allegations. But over a long period of intense questioning by police and his pastor, Ingram began to recall abusing his daughters as part of satanic rituals - recollections he now says were forced and false.

Ingram's story has been told in a book and TV movie, and has prompted a group of supporters to mobilize in his defense.

Two psychologists, Elizabeth Loftus and Richard Ofshe, testified that they believe Ingram did not commit the crimes he confessed to and that he was victimized by an overzealous investigation.

But Chad Ingram stood by his declaration that he had been abused by his father. He said it was the first time he had spoken publicly about the case.

When initially questioned by police shortly after allegations arose, he denied any abuse. But after more questioning, he said he had been abused by his father as well as by two other men, James Rabie and Raymond Risch Jr.

Chad Ingram admitted yesterday that he was inconsistent in his earlier statements and that he lied about Rabie and Risch to please the police officers. Charges against them were later dismissed.

Paul Ingram was not at the hearing, but in a recent interview he maintained that he was victimized by a flawed investigation.