Swiss-American 11-yr. old boy arrested on incest charges

By Ruby Harrold-Claesson, lawyer


In June of this year a neighbor accused 11-yr. old Raoul Wütrich of touching his 5-year-old sister inappropriately outside their home in Evergreen, Colorado, and the boy became the focus of a three-month investigation. The nightmare culminated at 10:30 p.m. on Aug. 30, when sheriff's deputies arrested him at his home without a warrant and led him away in handcuffs.

According to an article in Der Spiegl nr 42, 1999, bearing the title 'Moralische Panik', the child was facing a sentence of two years in juvenile prison, or reform school. The fact that Raoul's grandmother informed the authorities that Raoul had gone out into the garden and was helping his little sister to 'pee', had no bearing on the case. Pam Russell a spokesperson for Jefferson County said that "that's normal procedure".

Raoul was held for seven weeks in a detention facility, then transferred to a foster home. There he learnt that his parents, fearing the police would take away their three daughters, too, fled to the father's native country, Switzerland.

News about the arrest of 11-yr old Raoul was not widely spread in The USA, but the case caused an international uproar after the parents appealed to tabloid reporters in Switzerland. The boy's and his family's ordeal became headline news in most European countries - excepting Sweden.

On Wednesday Nov. 11, 1999, Jefferson County District Judge James Zimmerman threw out the case that prosecutors have been building for more than five months against the boy. Zimmerman ruled, during a 3-hour closed hearing, that Jefferson County authorities violated the boy's right to a speedy trial.

The judge placed no conditions on the release; it's up to the boy's family whether he receives any treatment.

The parents said Wednesday night that they will never return to Colorado. The have put up their house in Evergreen for sale. Defense attorneys for Raoul and his family have announced they have been directed to file notice of intent to sue Jefferson County for the trauma that they have suffered because of the heavy-handed treatment the boy received.

Swiss-American boy free to go

Mom looks ahead to a joyous reunion

Barn döms till långa straff i USA

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