A former officer with the sheriff's department who was convicted in one of Thurston County's most notorious criminal cases gets his release from prison today in the Spokane area. It occurs roughly 14 years after Paul Ingram confessed to raping his daughters in a case that helped spur a national debate on recovered memories.
Ingram was the No. 4 ranking officer in the Thurston County sheriff's department at the time of his arrest in 1988, and he served as Thurston County Republican Party chairman.
Ingram, now 57, had been imprisoned in a Delaware prison since shortly after his guilty plea.
He recently was transferred to the Washington state prison at Airway Heights, where he will get his release today into a living arrangement in the South Hill area of Spokane.
Ingram will have 24 hours to register as a sex offender -- getting rated initially as a Level 3 offender, the highest risk to reoffend, said Gheorghe Turcin, risk management specialist for the Washington state Department of Corrections' Northeast region.
Turcin is supervising Ingram's release.
"He will be supervised on community placement," Turcin said.
"The community placement consists of mandatory reporting directions, complying with living arrangements as approved by the Department of Corrections. He will not be allowed to travel without permission of the community corrections officer. He will be supervised by the (DOC's) sex offender unit in the Spokane area. The supervising officer will interact with Mr. Ingram on a regular basis. The number of contacts can range anywhere from five to 10 a month."
Ingram will also have to "pursue enrollment in sex offender treatment. He will have to have no contact with the victims of his crime," Turcin said.
Sheriff Gary Edwards, whose investigators helped put Ingram behind bars, said he has no regrets about the case -- except that an offender of Ingram's potential danger is getting released.
"Not singling out this case, but I think it's a shame that any Level 3 offender is placed back into the community where they are a threat. That's unfortunate," Edwards said. "Some day the law may be changed appropriately."
A spokesman for Ingram's supporters said they question the validity of conditions being placed upon him.
"We are pleased about Paul's release. It is unfortunate that he must register as a sex offender, because we believe Mr. Ingram is innocent of any wrongdoing in his case," said Dan Brailey, founder of the Ingram Organization, in an e-mail response to questions from The Olympian.
Brailey said Edwards, Undersheriff Neil McClanahan and former Chief Deputy Prosecutor Gary Tabor, who is now a Thurston County Superior Court judge, helped send Ingram to prison.
Ingram said he had been brainwashed by his minister, psychologist and detectives into admitting his guilt.
"At the end of the day, Sheriff Edwards, Undersheriff McClanahan, and Judge Tabor must stand before God and be judged for their actions in the Ingram case," Brailey wrote. "I fear for their souls."
"I sleep good at night," Edwards replied, when told of those remarks.
Two men accused of crimes alongside of Ingram later saw charges dropped, but they have since complained that the case was costly and disruptive to their lives.
Before the scandal was over, Thurston County deputies had dug up Ingram's yard looking for bodies they thought were part of ritualized satanic activities that later proved to be nothing.
In a pardons hearing in the mid-1990s, Tabor told then-Gov. Mike Lowry's clemency board that Ingram had written fantasies while jailed about molesting his daughters, which was evidence Tabor found disturbing enough to not free Ingram.
In a book "Remembering Satan," writer Lawrence Wright detailed inconsistencies in the case against Ingram and its link to a hysteria that swept the country concerning molestation cases in the 1980s.
Convinced of Ingram's innocence, Brailey founded a group and created a Web site devoted to the cause of freeing Ingram -- an accomplishment never seen.
Ingram will be released today because he's completed his term, according to the DOC.