• Allegations of sexual misconduct are much ado about nothing, says the Tucsonan of her 11-year-old grandson.
ANNE T. DENOGEAN Citizen Staff Writer
The grandmother of a young Swiss-American boy whose arrest in Colorado on incest charges has caused an uproar in Switzerland says authorities have pursued the case with excessive zeal, and that the neighbor who reported the boy to police had a long-standing feud with his family.
”You do not treat a child this way, a criminal (you treat this way) but not an 11-year-old boy,” said Tucson resident Dianna Wood, who said the boy was ”ripped” out of his bed on Aug. 30 and taken away in handcuffs.
Wood is angry to see any child treated this way.
The boy’s parents, Andreas and Beverly Wuthrich, who have dual U.S.-Swiss citizenship, fled to Switzerland with their three other children after the boy, Raoul, was arrested on aggravated incest charges. He is accused of inappropriate sexual contact with his 5-year-old sister.
The case has created a furor in Switzerland, where people can’t understand why a young boy would be taken away in handcuffs and detained. The Swiss foreign ministry has been swamped with calls.
In another development in the case, the father acknowledged yesterday that he and his wife were involved with a business called ”Ultimate Fantasies,” which the Denver Post quoted sources as identifying as an adult video production company.
Authorities began the investigation after neighbor Laura Mehmert reported that she saw Raoul kiss and touch the girl in a sexual way.
Beverly Wuthrich said yesterday that her son and daughter told her he was trying to help her go to the bathroom.
Wood, the mother of Beverly Wuthrich, said the neighbor who made the claims saw the alleged incident from 75 feet to 100 feet away as the little girl urinated outside. She said the neighbor and her daughter’s family have a running feud.
”They were like the Hatfields and McCoys,” the grandmother said.
Wood alleged the same neighbor made earlier reports against her daughter.
According to the Denver Post, records show that Beverly Wuthrich pleaded guilty last year to a misdemeanor child-neglect charge and a second, similar charge is pending. The mother was ordered to undergo parenting classes and fined $78, according to court records.
”Both of those were for a neglect type of situation where the kids were left home alone for a period of time without being supervised,” said Steve Davis, spokesman for the sheriff’s office. ”It wasn’t an abuse case like they were being beaten or anything like that.”
The Wuthrichs said they fled the country after authorities told them their other children might be taken from them.
”I felt very threatened by the authorities,” Beverly Wuthrich said.
Wood said the events of the past six weeks have wreaked tremendous damage on her daughter’s family. She said she watched her daughter on news interviews yesterday.
”She looked drawn. She looked bad. She couldn’t really handle the questions. She was having a nervous breakdown over this thing. They have torn this family apart,” Wood said.
She said the boy’s sisters, ages 2, 5 and 12, ”are traumatized and they miss their brother. They cry all the time.”
Wood said her grandson is a nice boy who suffers from attention deficit disorder and takes Ritalin.
She said he is unruly at times and seeks attention by annoying his sisters as they play with their dolls, but he has never been violent.
”He was actually a good little kid, loved to come over and give me lots of hugs and kisses. He liked to draw me pictures. He was very proud of the fact that he had been baptized and was studying the Bible with the Mormon Church,” she said.
Raoul was detained with much older boys and had been handcuffed and shackled, Wood said.
Wood said her daughter and son-in-law do not allow their children to watch violence on television or elsewhere for that matter. Movies such as ”Schindler’s List” are locked away in a closet.
In the juvenile facility, she said, Raoul has associated with boys accused of serious crimes and has watched movies such as the ultra-violent ”Blade” with Wesley Snipes and ”The Mummy.”
”This boy has never been exposed to murderers, thieves, rapists. Now he’s got full knowledge of it after six weeks,” she said.
Raoul was in a juvenile detention center from Aug. 30 until a court hearing Tuesday, when a magistrate ruled that the case can proceed and had the boy placed in a foster home. The boy will move to a residential treatment center when a spot opens up. He is due in Juvenile Court on Nov. 8.
Jefferson County authorities confirmed Thursday they are looking into the Ultimate Fantasies business.
”Investigators are aware of the business and are currently trying to establish exactly what type of business it is,” Davis said.
Andreas Wuthrich in an MSNBC interview did not specify what the business does, but said no adult videos were produced at their home in Evergreen, Colo.
He said it was ”absolutely impossible” the boy was influenced by anything he saw in the home.
Wood said her daughter is a housewife who also serviced vending machines and her son-in-law is an electrical engineer who was trying to start his own engineering and construction company.
She said she had just learned of the Ultimate Fantasies business from the media and knew very little about it and the level of involvement of her son-in-law and daughter. But, she said, while she doesn’t condone it, it is ultimately irrelevant.
”Are prostitutes bad parents? Are people that visit X-rated video shops bad parents? Are people that read Playboy and Playgirl bad parents? Are the people that walk on the beach nude on the French Riviera bad parents?” she asked.
”I don’t know what their reasoning is for it, but they are good parents,” Wood said of her daughter and son-in-law.
”If you open the garage door of my daughter’s house, you’ll find toys and stuffed animals,” she said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
PHOTO CAPTION: NORMA JEAN GARGASZ/Tucson Citizen
Dianna Wood tells her 11-year-old grandson, Raoul Wuthrich, to ”keep praying, be good and see the bishop” in an emotional telephone call to his Colorado foster home as her daughter, Carrie Scully, 12, listens.