Editor’s note: This report contains graphic content that some readers may find disturbing.
The trial of a former Humboldt County Corrections Deputy accused of the sexual and physical abuse of children as well as inmates in the county jail featured three witnesses Tuesday, including two friends of the family of the victims and the detective who investigated the allegation. It was the fourth day of the trial.
Bobbi and Kris Wibbenhorst, friends of the family, both briefly took the stand. Kris Wibbenhorst, who was a former colleague of Fisher’s at the jail, was the first to take the abuse to the Eureka police in August 2017.
Kris Wibbenhorst testified about a physical altercation between Fisher and John Doe 2.
“It looked like he got hit by a truck,” Kris Wibbenhorst said of John Doe 2’s injuries.
Eureka Police Department Sr. Detective Ron Harpham was called to the stand by Deputy District Attorney Stacey Eads. The questions were focused on what he learned when he interviewed three boys who brought forth allegations of sexual and physical abuse against Cory Jordan Fisher in 2017.
Harpham interviewed all three — John Doe 1, John Doe 2 and John Doe 3 — and each of them wrote a statement detailing the things they said Fisher had done to them between 2007 and 2017. Among the allegations were claims of forced masturbation and oral sex along with claims of violent physical abuse and physical fights between Fisher and the victims.
Harpham testified he interviewed John Doe 2 at the Eureka Police Department in August 2017 and he related some of the details John Doe 2 shared with him.
“He told me Cory Fisher would give him oral sex and it was never the other way around,” Harpham said, adding Fisher told John Doe 2 not to tell anyone because no one would believe him and that it was “their little secret.”
Harpham interviewed John Doe 2 twice and said John Doe 2 told him about attempts by Fisher to force anal sex on him, attempts he was able to fight off. Harpham also testified about instances of physical abuse, particularly stemming from a fight between John Doe 2 and Fisher in 2017 that left John Doe 2 with facial injuries.
Among the physical abuse were allegations that Fisher once struck John Doe 2 with a vehicle, that Fisher once threw a remote at John Doe 2’s head and caused a broken nose and another incident “on June 25, 2017, when (John Doe 2) and Cory Fisher got into a pretty good fight.”
Under cross-examination, Deputy Conflict Counsel David Lee, who is representing Fisher, asked Harpham about dates and times, specifically asking about when he interviewed the John Does and what details were shared with him.
Lee asked Harpham if the John Does had anyone help them write letters about the allegations that were requested by a divorce attorney hired by Angela Fisher, the mother of all three, and then turned his questions to John Doe 3, who took the stand Monday.
Harpham was present at a Child Abuse Services Team (CAST) interview with John Doe 3 who was 10 years old when he alleges Fisher touched him inappropriately while the two were watching a movie in his bedroom. The importance of John Doe’s age at the time of the alleged touching is important because a sexual offense committed against a child younger than 10 is a separate charge and it does makeup one of the 13 charges Fisher faces overall.
After the lunch break, Eads then played segments of the recorded CAST interview conducted by social worker Kimberly Schneider with Jon Doe 3 in August 2017.
In the video, Schneider spoke to John Doe 3 about telling the truth and telling lies and walked him through the interview process telling him she wanted him to tell her “what his ears heard, what his eyes saw and what his body felt” as they talked.
John Doe 3 said in the recording, “he hurt my brothers.” When asked if his father had ever hurt him, John Doe 3 replied, “he pushed me down in the hallway,” and then added, “he knocked the wind out of me.”
John Doe 3 said Fisher got angry with him many times and he also got angry at his brothers. At one point, John Doe says Fisher hurt his older brother, broke his nose and put him in the hospital following the fight on August 25, 2017.
Later in the recording and in response to a question from Schneider about how Fisher touched him, John Doe 3 replied: “He touched my areas,” explaining to Schneider he meant, “my private parts,” and he also said his mother had told him Fisher had touched his brothers in their “areas” as well.
John Doe 3 told Schneider the single incident of touching happened “about two weeks before my birthday,” and that he was “in fifth grade.” When asked how old he was, he replied, “10,” in an effort to establish the boy’s age at the time of the abuse. John Doe 3 said he could remember that because of an event that was scheduled for his birthday and he was counting down the days.
The interview touched on John Doe 3’s mother asking for a divorce, his time spent at his grandparent’s house in Oregon and whether or not he told his mother Fisher had touched him.
“She got mad,” he said when asked what his mom did when he did tell her about the touching.
“I said we were watching TV and he touched my area,” when asked specifically what he told his mother.
Fisher was present in court, seated at the defense table next to Lee and wearing a blue button-down shirt and dark lacks. The trial will resume Wednesday morning at 9:30 in courtroom one.
Dan Squier can be reached at 707-441-0528.