By Donna Westfall – June 19, 2017 – Before the parade of witnesses took their turns, there was a discussion with Juror #9. He was honest enough to tell the Judge that a co-worker approached him and said to “pin him to the wall,” referring to Bryan Ranger’s guilt. He told her he cannot talk about it and left. The Judge wanted assurances from Juror #9 that he had no concerns about the verdict and how it might affect his relationships. Juror #9 assured both sides he can continue to be fair.
Next up: Laurie Bagg who lives in Vacaville.
In 2008, she went shopping with her mother-in-law and 1 year old baby at Target. She witnessed a big family that came into the store about the same time. . She didn’t like seeing the Dad not allowing his son to get a drink of water at the fountain. Then says she next saw him pull the hair of his little girl standing up in the shopping cart, then witnessed him slapping the little red-headed girl. Clarifications were made about how far away she was. Was Bryan facing her or away from her? She said he was standing sideways and she could tell he was angry. She then went out, waited for them to get into their van, took down their license plate number and called the police. No police record of charges ever being brought against Bryan Ranger were discussed in court. It’s safe to conclude there were no charges. But here’s why I think we heard about this incident. In 2014, 6 years later, Heather Nelson, Investigator for the Department Of Justice, went to Mrs. Bagg and showed her pictures of Bryan Ranger and only pictures of Bryan Ranger, as pointed out by the defense attorney, William Cater. Could it be that in 2014, when the prosecution then knew about Mercy’s confession of sex with Marc Nash from the time she was 14 until she was 16 in conjunction with 2 of the Ranger children wanting to recant motivated them to dig deeper into their investigation to find any dirt they could on Bryan Ranger?
Skipping over the testimony of the 10 year old boy, let’s go directly to the testimony of Sgt. Ed Fleshman from the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office (DNSO). He’s been in law enforcement for a total of 22 years. 8 years with Crescent City Police and the rest of with DNSO. He taught Aikido for years, Japanese martial arts. The dojo was located behind Parkway Antiques across from Parkway Feed. He had two, three or four of the Ranger kids in his class and their father would bring them and stay.
When Mercy attended Sunset High School, Fleshman was called in to talk to the principal. It was 2012, the allegations were of abuse and no allegations of sexual misconduct were made at that time. Within a month he closed the investigation.
At some point, one of Mercy’s brothers claimed he was burnt by the toaster and said his father was to blame. Bryan was arrested. Later the boy admitted he was lying and so those charges were withdrawn and Bryan was released from jail.
Fleshman mentioned speaking with the children on various occasions. One time, he was accompanied by a woman named, Liz, who left the room in order to give Mercy’s little brother, around 6 years old at the time, the freedom to speak without being so shy because of her presence. An audio tape was played.
Having lived through the McMartin Preschool sex abuse scandal of the 1980’s, I’ve VERY LEARY of believing children’s testimony especially when they may have been influenced by an older sibling, as in the case of Mercy, other social workers, or foster/adoptive parents. Once the children were out of the Ranger household, there is no telling how much pressure was applied to those siblings.
Back to Fleshman. While the child abuse case was closed, later the sexual abuse case was opened. He met with Mercy multiple times. Her description with her father of having sexual intercourse was described as,…. then he read from his file notes, “waking up from being blacked out after Bryan struck her, and bleeding vaginally.” However, according to his file notes, two of Mercy’s sister’s told him that Mercy was lying and didn’t witness anything of a sexual nature with Mercy and their father. One of Mercy’s sister’s said she was lying because she wanted to go live with Sasha Upton. OK, this is the problem I have with that testimony. Has this occurred to you? If she was blacked out, how did she know she had sexual intercourse with her father? Could she have had her period? Did she run to the cops and report rape at that time? If not, why not? If her father had sex with her, why was she not in an ER or with a medical doctor getting examined? Did he tie her down? Did he have a gun at her head? It appears that every time her father dropped his pants with his wife, he got his wife pregnant? Did Mercy ever get pregnant? Did this sexual intercourse incident with her father happen before or after her sexual intercourse with Marc Nash? Was she a virgin with Marc Nash?
What I am getting at is that the revelations so far throughout this trial about Mercy’s recollections of sexual misconduct or sexual intercourse with her father are so sketchy and filled with “dreams” or “memories at age 4” in conjunction with a lack of medical attention but charged with innuendo as to make even Saint Catherine shake her head.
The CAST interviews were video taped interviews taken in Eureka, California. Fleshman stated he was present and watched them through a one-way mirror. Several were conducted on March 6, 2012. Then again a year later. The case was re-opened after dependency hearings. Dependency hearings wherein Mercy would shake and shiver, well…bottom line… if what I witness that first day of her testimony was any indication of what she pulled in the dependency hearings, then no wonder Judge Follett terminated parental rights. EXCEPT Judge Follett should have known with his vast experience that the evidence was flimsy to a fault! Was there something else going on with Judge Follett?
SART Exams stands for Sexual Assault Response Team:
A SART exam is usually done when rape or sexual abuse occurs.
Question by Attorney William Cater to Sgt Fleshman: Was a SART exam done on any of the Ranger children?
Question: Did you request one?
Answer: NO, we didn’t.
Of course, I couldn’t ask this but here’s my question if I could have asked it: Why the hell not?
Here’s the problem I have with Ed Fleshman. When people in this town starting talking to me about “dirty cops,” his name was mentioned repeatedly. Here are just four:
- There was Scott and Millie Ratzloff. Scott was the former pastor at Lighthouse Community Church. Millie ran a number of community programs out of the Church gym. They moved back to Crescent City around the time I moved here in 2007. Ed Fleshman was part of the group that wanted Scott out of the ministry. Scott was arrested then released concerning a $400 power bill. His health took a nosedive. He and Millie moved to Arkansas where he is now Pastor of Oden First Baptist Church.
- The raid on Dave Egan’s house described in the series called, “The BlackHawk Pistol Story.” On a warrant to seek a “stolen” $300 Blackhawk Pistol which turns out was not stolen, everything of value was taken by DNSO and to this date 52 of his firearms have still not been returned. Fleshman was part of that raid. The DA at the time was Jon Alexander. All charges against Egan were dropped.
- Complaints by parents of children taken out of class and interviewed without benefit of another adult present besides the Ranger case. Fears that Fleshman may have influenced them unduly. One parent wishes to remain anonymous since he still lives and works in this town. Fears of retaliation are ever present.
- Complaints by a “registered sex offender” of being treated like a criminal in this town by Fleshman even though he served his time and hadn’t had a blemish on his record since. He is currently involved with a Sacramento attorney to revise the laws concerning “registered sex offenders” to get a tiered program whereby those without any further incidents could be removed from the sex offender list after so many years.
The last witness of the day, JUDY RANGER.
I’ll cover that in Part 2 of Day 4 as it’s time to get ready for DAY 5 of the Bryan Ranger “Sex Abuse” Trial. This case is open to the public. I encourage you to attend to see how our Justice System works.