Denver Post

Friday, November 5, 1999

Swiss boy faces new sex charge

By Kieran Nicholson
Denver Post Staff Writer

Nov. 5 - GOLDEN - The 11-year-old Swiss-American boy charged with incest now faces an additional charge of sexual assault on a child.

Raoul Wuthrich has been accused of fondling his sister at his family's Evergreen home last May. His arrest in August captured worldwide headlines and touched off an appeal, led by the Swiss media, for his release.

Prosecutors would not comment directly on why the additional charge was filed Wednesday, nor would they comment on the timing of the charge that stems from the same alleged incident in May. The charge was revealed during the boy's second preliminary hearing Thursday, at which Magistrate Marilyn Leonard ruled there's sufficient evidence to proceed with the case against the boy.

A court tape recording of his initial preliminary hearing failed and there was no transcript of the proceeding. A court reporter was present at Thursday's hearing.

Raoul will be arraigned Monday.

"We will enter a not-guilty plea and move to dismiss (charges) on Monday,'' said Vincent Todd, an attorney representing Raoul's parents, Andreas and Beverly Wuthrich. The boy maintains his innocence and has told investigators and his attorney, Arnold Wegher, that he was only trying to help his 5-yearold sister wipe herself after she had gone to the bathroom.

"Raoul is not going to admit anything when he hasn't done anything,'' Todd said.

The boys' parents fled with their three daughters to Switzerland after Raoul was arrested, saying they feared arrest and that their daughters could be taken from them. During Thursday's hearing, Hal Sargent, a chief deputy district attorney, told the court witnesses have said Raoul's parents watched pornographic videos with the children present. Wegher object to the statement and Leonard sustained the objection. There are no charges pending against Andreas or Beverly Wuthrich. Laura Mehmert, who notified authorities in May of the alleged incident, testified in court Thursday that Raoul's actions were "sexual'' in nature. Daniel Jarboe, director of investigative services with the Jefferson County Children's Advocacy Center, testified Thursday that the 5 year-old sister said Raoul touched and kissed her inappropriately. "She didn't like what he was doing,'' said Jarboe, who interviewed the girl in June.

Wegher told the court that "this little girl had a hard time understanding the whole process'' of the interview. He cited instances from the interview in which the girl's answers to some questions made no sense. Todd and Wegher tried to have Jarboe's testimony stricken from the record, saying that he's a licensed counselor and the interview with the sister should have been confidential unless she gave permission to disclose it, which she did not, they said. Leonard overruled the request.

Copyright 1999 The Denver Post.