The Trial of Creative Frontiers School Principal Robert Adams

Robert Adams’s three daughters speak before Citrus Heights Mayor Jeannie Bruins. Although prosecutors allege that Adams molests female children, Adams’s daughters are his most vocal and active supporters, joining hundreds of recent and former students, teachers, and parents who also support Creative Frontiers and its founder.
Robert Adams’s three daughters speak before Citrus Heights Mayor Jeannie Bruins. Although prosecutors allege that Adams molests female children, Adams’s daughters are his most vocal defenders, along with former Creative Frontiers students, teachers, and parents who, in marked contrast to a handful of motivated accusers, have shown unflagging support for the school and its founder.

Now slowly winding its way to trial, the alleged child molestation case against Robert Adams and Creative Frontiers School first made the news in July 2011, when the school was closed and Adams was declared a suspected child molester based on uncorroborated allegations alone: allegations made by a 65-year-old school volunteer who’d been passed over for a paid position; allegations that were released in prosecution press-packets and that made national and international news within 24 hours; allegations that, in the two years since, have been loudly and repeatedly denied by actual children at the school; allegations that were confounded by the six months of school video surveillance seized by police; allegations that prosecutors would eventual drop from the case altogether in favor of allegations from two families who owe money to the school, three disciplined and fired teachers, and their friends; allegations that stand in marked contrast to the experiences of five-thousand-plus students and employees over thirty years who have enjoyed the private school’s predominately female faculty with its cottage-style classrooms and bucolic seven-acre campus complete with horses and goats, all of which once thrived like hope itself among the sprawl of Citrus Heights in Sacramento County, California.


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Unlike any number of molestation cases ably handled by competent law enforcement and child protection services daily, across the U.S. (including the rare "big" cases--Sandusky, et al), the nature and context of the allegations against Robert Adams and Creative Frontiers School, as well as the conduct of Citrus Heights and Sacramento County authorities are suspicious at best, and the case exhibits numerous red flags of a false case, most notably that allegations of abuse are being made by a handful of motivated adults, while actual students at the time of the school's closure have not only told investigators that no abuse occurred, but delivered a petition to the Mayor and held bake sales, tag sales, and "movie nights" to raise funds to help re-open Creative Frontiers.

After days of preliminary hearings, a judge determined that prosecutors' alleged evidence -- which consisted entirely of hearsay statements from law enforcement officers whose exhaustive searches of Adams's home and campus failed to find any biological or photographic or video evidence to support accusers' claims -- was nonetheless sufficient to warrant a trial on seven counts of child molestation. The trial is presently scheduled to begin April 4th. I'll have more to say in the coming weeks. [END OF POST]

The preliminary hearing for Creative Frontiers Principal Robert Adams remains delayed - today, because the judge recused himself after the defense noted that he signed-off on the search warrants (warrants which, it should be noted, resulted in the seizure of not a jot of inculpatory evidence). Adams preliminary hearing is rescheduled for Feb 28. [END OF POST]

On May 23, 2012, in an attempt to move the case forward in spite of the prosecution's continued failure to provide full discovery to the defense, Creative Frontiers Principal Robert Adams, accused of child molestation, entered a formal plea of "not guilty" before Sacramento Superior Court Judge John P. Winn, who set August 17, 2012 as the date for Adams' preliminary hearing. [END OF POST]

At Robert Adams's most recent court date, April 5, 2012, Adams' attorney Linda Parisi told the court that she continues to wait for the prosecution's evidence. In a case already marked by numerous investigative and prosecutorial irregularities, the District Attorney’s office appears unable to produce its evidence against Adams, now eight months since authorities shut down Creative Frontiers. Adams has appeared in court five times since his arrest in September 2011. The case has been scheduled to be heard again on May 23, 2012. [END OF POST]

Defense attorney Linda Parisi continues to wait for evidence to be turned over by Citrus Heights Police, regarding her client Robert Adams, the former Creative Frontiers private school principal who was arrested on September 7, 2011 and charged with six felony counts and one misdemeanor count of child molestation. Adams has appeared in court four times since his arrest in September, and each time his attorney has been forced to ask for a continuance, pending complete discovery from the prosecution. To date, no children have confirmed any of the adult allegations of molestation that originally closed Adams's school in July 2011. Adams's case is scheduled to be heard again on April 5th. [END OF POST]

Robert Adams's Creative Frontiers School wasn’t exactly a burning building into which armed officers rushed on July 18, in suburban Citrus Heights. It was a little cottage-style schoolhouse, 35-years old but still very much intact and not on fire, sitting on a bucolic seven-acres set back from the highway, a progressive preschool and elementary school with a big palm tree in the courtyard and windows overlooking fields, a playground, swimming, horses, even goats and rabbits and the random stray.... Summer classes were in session, more fun than anything, and indeed all seemed well enough. Whatever social services and police had been led to believe, one thing would soon be clear: no children at the school had any complaints. Unfortunately for all involved, police and social services had already sent out press releases....

Social service workers–should anyone be unaware–have extraordinarily difficult jobs. Particularly in investigating allegations of child molestation. Their jobs are tougher still, when both the allegations and the investigations begin with, and build upon, circumstances as dubious as those related to Robert Adams and Creative Frontiers School in Citrus Heights, CA. Such cases can prove disastrous, […]

According to witness testimony before Mayor Jeanne Bruins and City Council, the armed Citrus Heights Police raid on Robert Adams' Creative Frontiers School was not only unnecessary, but terrified the children as some officers needlessly broke doors for which they had been given keys, while other officers, in the school playground, engaged in “jocularity” such as “horsey rides.”

Although state and local authorities have seen fit to shut down Creative Frontiers based on allegations of child molestation lodged by 62-year-old ex-volunteer Irma Mertens, the actual children at Creative Frontiers, as well as their teachers and their parents, are rallying in the streets, picketing, begging authorities to re-open their beloved school.

In the 1980s, "Believe the Children" was a well-intentioned but misused slogan in the struggle to raise awareness of child sexual abuse. If there were any doubts, however, whether the prosecutors behind resultant witch hunts were concerned with the protection of children, rather than political posturing, the children themselves are helping to clarify the matter.

In 2010, one of the few nationally publicized, child-sex abuse fiascoes of the new millennium, Georgia v. Tonya Craft resulted in an acquittal for a gradeschool teacher charged with more than twenty counts of child molestation, aggravated sexual battery, and aggravated child molestation. But the acquittal came only after Craft, family, friends, and supporters raised enough money for an adequate defense--in this case, $500,000, which included an inheritance, a refinanced home, and Craft's own wedding ring. Statistically rare enough to make it one for the record books, the Craft trial is also a rare bright spot in the murky case law surrounding trials of its type.