Day care linked to sex abuse


The Milton-Freewater man deputies arrested Tuesday for child sex crimes may have abused children at a home-operated day care.

Umatilla County Sheriff's deputies arrested Jerry Dean Simpson, 66, on charges of viewing and encouraging children to have sex. Simpson faces three counts each of watching children in a sexual display and encouraging child sex abuse in the second- and third-degree.

During Simpson's arraignment Wednesday afternoon at the Umatilla County Courthouse in Pendleton, Deputy District Attorney Simonne Weyand said the abuse happened at a day care and rental home and requested Judge Garry Reynolds set Simpson's bail at $250,000. Reynolds granted the request.

Simpson didn't enter a plea, but said he hired Milton-Freewater attorney Sam Tucker, who also is the Milton-Freewater city judge. Simpson's next court appearance is Aug. 19 at 1:15 p.m., again before Reynolds.

Deputies arrested Simpson under the statute for using a child in a sexual display, which is a Measure 11 crime in Oregon and upon conviction carries a minimum prison sentence of five years, 10 months. Weyand earlier explained the statute also applies to when someone watches children have sex.

Simpson and his wife, Joan Simpson, ran a state licensed child care facility at their home at 54080 Walla Walla River Road, Milton-Freewater, where authorities made the arrest.

Kathleen Hynes, legal and compliance manager with Oregon Child Care Division, said the division suspended Joan Simpson's child care license Wednesday and suspended both from the division's criminal background registry.

An at-home day care can have up to 10 children, Hynes said. Four must be school age and six can be preschoolers, of which two can be under 2 years old.

Hynes said there had been complaints in 2007 and 2008 about the Simpson's day care, including leaving a child with soiled diapers in a timeout and giving children unsanitary bottles, but authorities were not able to substantiate those claims.

The state did find, however, the Simpsons had incomplete attendance records and no written discipline policy. There also was a broken gate, Hynes said, that had posed a safety issue. More importantly, Hynes said the Simpsons allowed another adult to live in the home but not go through the state's criminal background check.

"We consider that pretty serious," Hynes said.

During a brief phone call Wednesday afternoon, Joan Simpson didn't comment about her husband's arrest and instead handed the phone to a man who didn't identify himself but said he was a family member. The man said Joan Simpson had no comment about the situation.

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