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Kingston man cleared of 2002 attempted kidnapping charges
KINGSTON — A Kingston man has been cleared of attempted kidnapping charges dating back to July 8, 2002 in Quilcene.
The Jefferson County Superior Court first dismissed without prejudice the charge against Roland Russell Peters less than two months after he was arrested. “Without prejudice” means the accused may be charged later pending an investigation. Twelve years later, on Feb. 28, Jefferson County Superior Court Judge Keith Harper dismissed the charge “with prejudice,” the equivalent to a finding of “not guilty.”
Peters filed a request with Washington State Patrol for the charge to be expunged from his record.
Peters was charged in 2002 with three counts of attempted kidnapping after he tried to intervene on behalf of two girls he alleged were being emotionally, verbally and physically abused by their stepfather. Peters, who at the time was a family friend and the stepfather’s part-time caregiver, reported the stepfather to Child Protective Services. Peters said the stepfather and stepfather’s family retaliated by accusing him of trying to kidnap one of the girls and her two friends.
Peters, who lives with his brother in Kingston, said he has been subjected to harassment despite the fact the charge was first dismissed 12 years ago. The harassment started in 2004, when someone posted around town a flier that read, “Child molester” and “Released from jail 8-27-02 for attempted kidnapping …”
The flier noted which space he lived in in the former Ravenwood Mobile Home Park in Little Boston. The Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe banned him from the reservation for life, he said.
While the flier was circulated in 2004, “people still remember that,” Peters said.
In 2012, “the whole nightmare started again,” he said. He was with a friend and her daughter at Tiny Town during the Kingston Fourth of July celebration when his former friend’s niece told a sheriff’s deputy at the scene that he was a child molester. “I was stopped, detained and questioned in front of hundreds of people,” Peters said.
Since then, “My brother’s landlord has been trying to evict me. He said I would have to move out of the country to get a job. His latest advice was to do everybody a favor and kill myself,” Peters said.
The experience shook him up and has made him suspicious. A couple of months ago, some children on bikes blew whistles at the end of his driveway, an act he interpreted as a rape whistle drill. Motorists drive by his home, “slow down and rev their motors.” Employees at local stores “follow me around like I’m a criminal. Mothers in grocery stores … shield their children like I’m going to snatch them right out of their arms.”
“This is 12 years after nothing happened,” said Peters, who graduated from North Kitsap High School in 1977 before studying at Washington State University. “This is where I grew up and where I live. I am tired of being shunned by my community.”
According to the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office and a county clerk database, Peters has been in court over the last 10 years for issues related to traffic infractions and payment of child support. That's it. Kitsap County Sheriff’s spokesman Scott Wilson said harassment is against the law, punishable by up to one year in county jail and a $1,000 fine. Peters could also ask the court for an anti-harassment order.
“He has every right to exist without being harassed and treated as something he’s not,” Wilson said.