(Lander, Wyo.) – A 67-year-old Lander man has been bound over to Wyoming’s Ninth District on charges that he raped two girls who were his foster children about 7 years ago. The victims were reportedly 8 and 10 years old at the time of the crime.
Tom Passey has been charged with two counts of First Degree Sexual Assault of a Minor relating to two sisters who were in his care when he allegedly raped them. Each charge is punishable by 5 to 50 years in prison, so if he is found guilty of both, he could be sentenced to a maximum of 100 years. He is currently being held on a $100,000 cash bond.
In this afternoon’s preliminary hearing in Lander’s Circuit Court, Lander Police indicated they learned about the sexual assaults when one of the girls’ counselors alerted them to what the girl had told them. She ultimately detailed to investigators an encounter in which Passey forced himself on her while she was in his care when she was 8. Passey was 60 at the time. She claimed that she cried and told him “no” multiple times, court testimony indicated.
Her older sister who now lives out of town testified to a similar event at the same home and around the same time. The younger reportedly told investigators that Passey told her “she would be sorry” if she told anyone.
The detective then testified that Passey admitted to having sexual intercourse with both of them, both during a polygraph test at the local FBI office and during an interview with investigators. The difference between his account and the girls’ accounts, the investigator said, was that Passey did not remember either of them resisting.
Passey’s attorney, Terry Martin, argued that the state did not present sufficient evidence that intercourse had occurred. He also emphasized that investigators did not look into whether the girls had stayed in any other foster homes in Lander.
The girls were not identified in court. They are reportedly under the custody of the Northern Arapaho Tribal Department of Family Services.
The case will be continued in District Court. An arraignment date for when Passey will enter a plea has not yet been set.