By RAELYNN RICARTE
News staff writer
April 29, 2006
Clayton Tefler, 42, of Cascade Locks was called a “Godophile” on Monday for exploiting religion to sexually abuse a young boy.
The guardian of the developmentally-delayed victim, who is a ward of the state, blasted Telfer in Hood River Circuit Court. He said the admitted pedophile had built a trust relationship with his family — and then used it for his own “deviant” advantage.
“You professed yourself to be a ‘Man of God’ coming into our home and praying hands-on with my wife and mother-in-law. You used every opportunity available to you to gain access to the victim. You used getting up early Sunday mornings to attend church and Sunday School for overnights.
“You used the fact my wife was dealing with depression and anxiety over our son being in the military and our oldest son being in Afghanistan and currently being deployed in Iraq. All to prey on a child that has been victimized his whole life and unable to defend himself,” read the man from a written statement.
At his April 24 hearing, Tefler entered a guilty plea to the molestation of two Cascade Locks boys under the age of 13. He was given the mandatory sentence under Measure 11 of 75 months in prison. He had already been convicted of molesting a male child in 1986 by a Multnomah County court.
The irate guardian questioned in court why Tefler’s wife had known of the prior conviction – and still let the victims spend time alone with him.
He told Judge Donald Hull that his young charge had been in therapy for most of his young life. And that Tefler had full knowledge of the child’s vulnerabilities when he befriended him.
The victim not only had learning disabilities due to his mother’s alcohol consumption during pregnancy, he was working through abandonment and abuse issues.
According to reports, one of Telfer’s “rewards” for the victim had been to take him for visits with his mother – which was prohibited by a court directive.
Telfer had also allowed both boys to play violent video games that were forbidden at home. In addition, the guardian asserted that he had taken at least one victim to his place of employment in Hood River – including an overnight stay in the office.
An investigation is now underway to determine if Telfer also downloaded child pornography from the Internet at his work place. Deputy District Attorney Carrie Rasmussen was pleased that Tefler was held accountable for his actions. He was arrested in March after the victims came forward with the allegations of abuse.
Rasmussen said the Telfer case clearly shows that “sexual predators aren’t always the bushy-haired strangers that lurk around playgrounds.”
“Even though we live in a small community, it’s important to know that people who prey on children are among us. They can be in our churches, in our schools and in our work places,” she said.
“I’m not advocating that parents be overly paranoid about people who have contact with their children. But this case shows that you really need to be careful about the adults you allow your children to spend time with.
“And that includes folks who may wrap themselves in the cloak of righteousness and religion.”
In the May 3 edition: two recent child sexual abuse cases have led Hood River County experts to remind parents about the importance of closely monitoring their child’s daily activities.