If you are trying to figure out how Paul went from being accused of molesting a 5 year old boy to being charged with 6 counts of rape, you are not alone. Very little is accessible in the public record regarding this, since both the accused and the alleged victim were juveniles. What is known is that shortly after the initial interviews with Detective Nelson, Sharon Krause joined the investigation. What started as vague, unfounded accusations soon underwent a marked metamorphosis into the extreme, and for the most part, unbelievable.
What we know from the public record is that the parents of the alleged victims spoke to each other and their children at length. They involved other families in the neighborhood. They suggested scenarios that were soon claimed as fact. Throughout the month of February, the investigation seemed to pick up steam, almost developing a life of its own. We know that the accusations of satanic cult involvement came from one of the original complainants, LL. Jennifer’s recollection of this parent was that she was a helicopter-mom type, and she seemed to thrive on drama. At this time, Jennifer still had not been implicated in any way. That would soon change.
Surprisingly, even though there had been quite a bit of activity throughout February, it’s almost as if the case came to a screeching halt in March. In fact, defense attorneys received no reports of interviews, investigation notes, absolutely nothing generated for the entire month of March. It wasn’t until the first week in April that another report was generated. This was the report that pointed the first finger at Jennifer McPherson. It was, perhaps unsurprisingly, based on yet another conversation LL had with her son BL. According to reports, LL told detectives that her son BL, randomly stated one day that Jennifer had been present when the alleged assaults by Paul occurred.
One would wonder why, after such an potentially damaging claim, there was no apparent activity for a further 7 days. For a full week after reporting that Jennifer was involved, no interview notes, and no investigation notes seem to exist. If they do exist, they were certainly not turned over to any defense attorney. Detective Nelson continued his contact with both parents, LL and GM, and Sharon Krause ultimately zeroed in on the McPherson children. As the tales from LL and GM became more and more outlandish, the McPherson children were steadfast in their denials.
Outlandish is the only word that can describe some of the accusations coming out. Keeping in mind the McMartin Pre-School case, it is somewhat understandable that LL would have taken to reading books on the subject of satanic abuse. What is not understandable is why the accusations of the same types of abuse didn’t surface until AFTER LL had begun her research. Soon there flowed a steady stream of claims, each more unbelievable than the last. Remember, it’s 1987, and not every single home had a computer. Certainly not every home had BBS access, the precursor of today’s internet. These things were expensive, and they were LARGE. They were certainly not designed to be secreted under the hood of a car in a junkyard, so that pictures could be printed secretly. Yet that is one claim that was taken as fact during the investigation.
Other tales of animal sacrifice and the murder of children, also performed in the unnamed junkyard, were also taken as fact. There was never any evidence of these things happening, but apparently Clark County wasn’t concerned with actual evidence. (In the McMartin case, there were claims of a secret ritual room, accessed by hidden tunnels under the school. None was ever discovered, despite massive efforts to locate them) Claims of drapes kept securely drawn to hide what went on inside the home and preschool were also taken as fact, in spite of evidence and testimony that refuted even these simple things. It seemed that the more unbelievable the claims, the more readily they were taken as fact.
And yet, the McPherson children still denied that their mother was abusing children, and denied that they were being abused. Paul was facing 6 counts of rape, and still he denied that his mother had any part of this. On April 20, 1987 Paul pled guilty to indecent liberties. Jennifer’s recollection was that Paul had legal representation, so one can speculate that the reduction in charges might have happened due to his legal representation. At this time Paul is still steadfast in his denials and defense of his mother. On April 22 Sharon Krause again interviewed Paul. Again, we are left with speculation, as Paul’s record is sealed, and Sharon Krause’s notes, when present at all, are lacking in any believable documentation of the interviews in real time. He still denies that his mother was involved in any way.
Apparently, at some point during the interview, they took a break, and Paul talked to his father. It was at this time that Paul was told that if he told on his mother, it would be better for him, and better for her. Since this was from his parent, a person he trusted and believed in, he agreed and when the interview resumed, he finally implicated his mother. That is how Jennifer McPherson was suddenly suspected of horrendous abuses of not only children in her care, but also of her own children as well. Only after Paul accused his mother did his sister agree. Suddenly Sharon Krause had another case that could put her in the spotlight. Just where she liked to be. The cost was in her eyes, negligible. It amounted to 6 months of juvenile detention, 6 months in a halfway house, and the mental anguish of two children caught up in something they couldn’t even begin to understand.
To this day Paul McPherson refuses to speak of this time in his life at all. He doesn’t acknowledge even his sister’s attempts to discuss this. Again, we can speculate that he was terrorized into giving this damaging testimony. Certainly this is not unheard of from victims of Sharon Krause. Was he threatened with being charged again with those 6 counts of rape? Was he threatened with something worse? Unless Paul breaks his silence, we may never know. What we can safely guess is that whatever happened, it so damaged him that even as an adult, he keeps his own counsel, trusting no one in regard to this, and will not speak of it, even with attorneys. How severely must a child be damaged to carry it well into adulthood? The fact that the damage was caused by police does not make it any less horrific. It doesn’t make it excusable. The damage is just as real.
For the most part, Paul and Lisa’s nightmare was ending. For their mother Jennifer, it was just beginning. Jennifer’s nightmare would last far longer, with damage every bit as severe as the damage to her children. The nightmare continues in Part 3. We hope you’ll stay with us until the end.