New member of Fraternity Snoqualmie nudist park in Issaquah investigated for child pornography
August 29, 2014
By Kathleen R. Merrill
NEW — 10:55 a.m. Aug. 29, 2014
A 43-year-old new member at Fraternity Snoqualmie, the family friendly nudist park on Tiger Mountain, is under investigation for having more than 1,000 images of child porn on his computer.
FS spokeswoman Dawnzella Gearhart, who has been at the park for 20 of its almost 70 years in existence, said she was horrified about the discovery another member made while on the park’s open Wi-Fi. They called the King County Sheriff’s Office, who began an investigation July 31.
“We’re looking like the bad guy here, but nudism does not cause child pornography,” Gearhart said. “The minute we saw them, we called the police and got them out here right away.”
Police interviewed witnesses and confiscated the man’s computer and digital devices, according to a search warrant signed by a judge Aug. 14 and filed Aug. 25.
The park evicted the man as soon as possible, Gearhart said.
The man cooperated with police “and we evicted him that day,” she said. “He’s been off the property a couple of weeks.”
The Issaquah Press doesn’t name suspects unless they have been charged with a crime.
King County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. DB Gates said the department does not comment on open investigations.
A search warrant for the man’s RV states that two witnesses described sexually explicit photos of girls possibly as young as 8, and they saw movies on a “Media Share” folder, from “Bills Laptop2,” titled “incest” and “rape.” Neither of the two witnesses recognized “any of the children or backgrounds so they didn’t believe that the photos had been taken at the park,” the warrant said.
“At the very least, what he had on his computer was available for everyone to see,” Gearhart said, adding that it disgusted her and other members. “A kid could have seen it or anyone else could have seen it here.”
Fraternity Snoqualmie has a strict policy and runs various background checks to prevent sex offenders from getting into the park, she said.
“We put him through the background checks and everything, and he passed them,” she said. “We screened him against Washington state, Idaho, Oregon, all the sex offender lists, so if they’re on any lists at all, we find them. We check references, and people have to visit three times before they can become a member, so we spend time with them and we check them out thoroughly.”
The man was not a resident of the park; he was a new member, leasing a seasonal RV spot, she said.
“We have never had such a thing happen before,” Gearhart said “We have had people turn up in the background checks, but never had someone on the grounds like this.
“Usually our screening weeds people out, but this person has never been caught, until now.”
Gearhart and other members said they are angry about the man being in their midst and they hope it doesn’t give the park a bad name or discourage people from visiting.
“We just don’t like to wear clothes,” she said. “We’re comfortable in our own skins, is all. We’re great people from all walks of life.
“This is a safe place for people,” she added. “I find it safer than my church that I grew up in.
“There are pedophiles everywhere. We did the right thing.”