Father and son suspects take opposing stances

By RAELYNN RICARTE

News staff writer

July 1, 2006

A mid-valley man and his adult son have been accused of sexually abusing the same young girl — but have taken two different stands on the charges against them.

Ronald Carroll Philips, 54, of Webb Drive recently pleaded guilty to the crime and will spend 75 months in prison. His son, Jeremiah, 27, a Dee Highway resident, has entered a not guilty plea and asked to take his case before a jury.

In March, the elder Phillips fled from Hood River County after the child reported the offenses against her. He was caught weeks later in Moro after KPTV-12 picked up an alert that was published in the Hood River News.

His employer saw the story and recognized the photo as one of his workers. He reported Phillips’ location to the Sherman County Sheriff’s Office. When the fugitive arrived for work later that same morning, law enforcement officials were waiting to take him into custody.

On June 14, Phillips appeared in Hood River before Judge Donald Hull and admitted to the felony sex abuse. The mother of the victim was too distraught to appear in court. However, she asked Deputy District Attorney Carrie Rasmussen to relay her telephone message to Hull.

“I hope he will die behind bars because this is what happened to my family (death of daughter’s innocence),” she stated.

Phillips also pleaded guilty to sexually abusing his step-daughter, now an adult. She was not present in court but had Rasmussen deliver her “now I’ll be believed” message. She said the family had denied the accusations of abuse that she had brought forward years earlier.

Rasmussen told Hull that, while Phillips had acknowledged sexually assaulting his own sister when she was 5 years old, the statute of limitations had run out to prosecute that crime.

“We are talking about three generations of girls that have been abused by this man,” she said.

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