By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
By Michael Roberts
By Melanie Asmar
Raoul and his older sister would take baths together, and again, Cindy decided it must be a European custom. However, she figured even Europeans might have questioned the appropriateness one day when she came home and found the kids, nude and fresh out of the bathtub, "running around playing 'choo-choo.' I'm sure you can imagine what his sister was pulling Raoul around by. I was like, 'What the fuck are you guys doing?' And they'd say, 'My mommy doesn't care.' I made them go get dressed, and they looked at me like I was the strange one."
Raoul, in particular, seemed sexually preoccupied. Once, the family was sitting around when he began trying to insert a finger into the vagina of the pet cat. "They thought that was cute," Cindy says. "It was, 'Oh, look, he's exploring.'"
Cindy's fiancé came for a visit only to have Raoul "go psychopath -- running his Hot Wheels cars through my fiancé's hair, saying things like 'I'm going to crash my cars in your hair.'" Normal little boy stuff, perhaps, but when taken with "Did you know I tried to burn our house down in Switzerland?" and "Wouldn't it be cool if I burned these apartments?" it was scary. The couple decided to stay in a motel.
When Cindy asked Beverly about whether Raoul had tried to burn down the house in Switzerland, she says Beverly admitted there had been such an incident. "Apparently, he was getting a lot of taunting at school because he was an American, spoke American -- really badgered and tormented by the other children," Cindy says. "So he acted out. He set the curtains on fire one night and burned three-quarters of the house down. Almost killed the family.
"The authorities in Switzerland weren't too thrilled about it," she adds. "Apparently, two other houses almost caught fire. That's when they moved back to the U.S."
Cindy concedes it's a bit strange that she stayed with the family as long as she did if she was so disturbed by what was going on. But, she says, she didn't have the money to move out on her own, and Beverly owed her $350. "The plan was always for them to move back to Switzerland," she says. "But where they wanted to move is apparently expensive, so Andreas, who worked for a computer company, kept real tight reins on their money. She was thinking about leaving him because she thought he was cheating on her, so she was stashing away money from selling the videos and borrowing from me."
Cindy decided marriage and a home in Sacramento looked pretty good by comparison. So she moved out and had nothing more to do with the Wuthrich family -- until she saw them on the Today show and called the Jeffco DA.
The district attorney's investigators had heard enough similar stories to take a hard look at what Cindy reported, including the allegation about Beverly working for an escort service. The DA won't comment on specifics of the investigation that didn't make it into the court record, but Hooper says that they heard from several other sources about the house fire in Switzerland. Their efforts to learn more about the alleged incident, she says, were hampered because Swiss authorities would not cooperate.
Sargent discussed Cindy's allegations about the escort service, the pornography, the open sexuality of the parents and the alleged fire in Switzerland at a hearing before Judge Zimmerman as reasons why the hearings on this case should be kept open to the public.
But Beverly Wuthrich managed to do further damage to her and her husband's image as parents when she confided to a Swiss TV channel that she had set up an online, fee-based "erotic site for women." The Swiss station reported that the site was linked to others where users could get access to hardcore pornographic pictures.
The Wuthriches and their attorney, Vincent Todd, spent the next couple of days backpedaling. Todd claimed that the couple had only considered setting up an adult video site featuring "sensual fantasies for women," but that the site never went online. Andreas Wuthrich admitted that he had "played" with a design but never got the site up and running, and that they had only considered it because they were having a difficult time making their mortgage payments. Both Wuthriches denied that adult videos were produced in their home or that they allowed their children to watch pornography. "There was never anything like that going on in our house," Andreas told the press. "Even the R-rated videos were locked up." Beverly went one step further, claiming, "I had restricted my children from watching R-rated movies and PG movies. I had locked them in the closet of my home because I didn't want my children to put on a movie that was not appropriate for them."
The district attorney's investigators were unable to locate an "Ultimate Fantasies" site that could be directly linked to the Wuthriches, but the damage was done. Blick, which had been collecting money for the family, said it would hold on to the funds until the matter was cleared up. Todd and Raoul's attorney, Wegher, whose fees might have been expected to come out of the legal defense fund set up by the newspaper, complained that the Web site brouhaha had been thrown out by the prosecutors as a distraction from the issue of Raoul's detention. Of course, they failed to note that their own railing about Raoul's treatment had overshadowed the accusations against their client: that he had molested a five-year-old girl.