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Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Youth Leader Tana Reneau Accused of Child Rape and Assault

Tana Reneau

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Tana Reneau, a youth leader with North Whatcom County Young Life and a mother of six children, stands accused of first-degree child rape, second-degree child rape, third-degree child rape, and four counts of second-degree child assault. She also faces one count of drug possession involving prescription drugs that did not belong to her.

Yahoo reports:

Probable cause documents released by Whatcom County Superior Court detail the alleged child abuse by a Blaine mother of six, who is a former teacher and current candidate for the Blaine School Board.

Tana Perkins Reneau, 51, was arrested by Whatcom County sheriff’s deputies Friday, June 2, on charges of child rape and child assault.

The prosecutor’s office intends to formally charge her with first-degree child rape, second-degree child rape, third-degree child rape and four counts of second-degree child assault, according to court documents. She also faces one count of drug possession involving prescription drugs that did not belong to her.

The arrest came after Whatcom County detectives were assigned the investigation through the state Child Protective Services. Three female children ranging in age from 7 to 14 and one male child over the age of 10 known to Reneau came forward with allegations that she had been physically and sexually abusing them as punishment, documents state.

“Horrific is a good word for it,” Whatcom County Superior Court Commissioner Jonathan Richardson said regarding the allegations during Reneau’s first appearance in court on Monday.


Child forensic interviews conducted by staff at Brigid Collins Family Support Center found that some of the physical pain suffered by the children “was equivalent to that produced by torture.” Medical exams by a nurse found scarring and markings consistent with abuse. Two of the children were found to have chipped teeth, the documents state.

Some of the children were forced to sleep naked in the shower, in the garage or without blankets or pillows. All four children were forced to run laps, the documents state.

The children were physically abused using closed fists and household items including boards, cords and a shovel, the documents state.

One child was severely beaten and then, upon examination of the injury, sexually assaulted by Reneau, the documents state. One child was sexually assaulted as punishment for perceived stealing, according to the documents.

Three of the children are Black and reported that Reneau called them racial slurs, according to the documents.

“It’s a very egregious case,” said deputy prosecuting attorney David Graham “(The probable cause document) has some very specific and very disturbing allegations and, in the state’s view, there is a community safety concern.”

The court issued a domestic violence no-contact order that protects the four unnamed victims. Reneau’s bail was set at $500,000. She remained in custody as of June 6, according to jail records.

Reneau has six children, four of whom are adopted.

Reneau taught in the Kennewick School District for 13 years before moving to Blaine in 2011. It’s unclear whether she ever taught in Blaine schools, but she served on multiple curriculum and technology adoption committees.


Reneau has filed to run for an open seat on the Blaine School Board and will face two other candidates in the Aug. 1 primary. She previously ran unsuccessfully for the school board in 2019.

She also has been involved with North Whatcom County Young Life ministry and as a leader in a program called YoungLives, which aims to offer guidance, resources and support to teen mothers.

In 2021, Reneau opened a candy company called Better Buttermint Co., where she employed young adults with developmental disabilities.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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    • Avatar

      I am also horrified beyond measure, MJ, that she employed the learning disabled. What atrocities did she perpetrate on this vulnerable group? I once advocated for LD adults and know how very very badly they can be abused and exploited and not have any understanding of how to report any wrongs against them….what a disgusting, despicable monster she is.

      • Avatar
        MJ Lisbeth

        Matilda—It was bad enough to be abused by a priest. I can only imagine how much worse it could have been had I been learning or developmentally disabled.

        (Not long ago, it occurred to me that I might be at least somewhat developmentally disabled. All of those years of being in the closet about my gender identity and sexuality—and my abuse—led to a kind of inward isolation that kept me from developing some of the skills that my chronological peers have.)

        • Avatar

          I’m so sorry to know what you went through, MJ.
          I became involved with the LD when I went into my bank, back in the old days before online banking. Somehow the cashier got talking to me about the LD guy he’d just served. A couple of unscrupulous, despicable ”friends” had been persuading him to withdraw money regularly and hand it over to them in the street outside. The cashier had got the police involved and it had stopped, but he was checking through the window that the LD guy was OK….I joined an advocacy group soon afterwards!

        • Avatar
          Yulya Sevelova

          Oooff!! I just read about this horrible woman !! And she has six kids on top of it ! I hope the parents who’s kids were attacked by her will proceed with lawsuits against her and her organization. The thing with such people like her- they bring on calamity to themselves and their immediate family,while howling about how they’re being ” persecuted.” Pun intended, I hope she gets CRUCIFIED in court. 👀👀

  1. Avatar
    Yulya Sevelova

    I Googled Reneau and she’s from Kennewick, WA. originally. She taught 5 the grade at two elementary schools there, before moving to Blaine. She’s married,so I wonder if her husband had a role in this stuff also, because it took place in the house all the time. She’s a pro- lifer at Young Life, before getting fired without pay. This is one of the absolute worst Fundy abuse cases I’ve ever heard of ! She’s running for a position on the local school district,and the charges,11 of them –aren’t enough to be dropped from the list. Can you believe THAT ?! At $500,000 bail, she’s looking at aggravated circumstances that will add up in more years in prison because of felony charges. Prosecutors are really gunning for her, because of the obvious evidence of what is showing on photos from the examinations. There’s no lying or deflecting from this one,Mrs. Reneau. She has “crazy eyes,” like so many Fundies do. A dead giveaway something’s wrong.

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