108 years prison for San Mateo foster dad
January 29, 2011, 02:36 AM By Michelle Durand Daily Journal Staff
The San Mateo foster father who told jurors he didn’t know sexually abusing and videotaping graphic sex acts with young boys — including the 9-year-old ward he was adopting — was wrong will spend the rest of his life in prison even though a court-appointed doctor said probation was possible.
Tarquin Craig Thomas, 44, was sentenced to 108 years to life in prison on 44 felonies, essentially meaning he will die behind bars.
Defense attorney Richard Keyes asked for both a new trial and probation, both of which were denied. A doctor appointed to evaluate Thomas’ propensity to re-offend if released concluded he was amenable to probation.
But prosecutor Aaron Fitzgerald said Thomas should never be released.
“We wanted to make sure the community and victims are safe,” he said.
After the sentencing, Fitzgerald said he was “very happy” and gave credit to Detective Kimber Joyce and others who helped put the case together.
During trial, jurors were shown dozens of graphic photographs and videos of Thomas and the boys, including 9-year-old Oregon foster child Dylan who he began adopting and Freddie, a teenager who Thomas met through the Boys and Girls Club in San Francisco. Freddie’s own mother defended Thomas until finding a hidden flash drive containing the photographs.
Tarquin worked for Barclays Investment Firm as a software designer and ran a child photography business, with a studio in his home. After bringing Dylan from Oregon, the boy was abused from August 2005 until the following November when a spanking report to Child Protective Services led to his return to Oregon. Thomas allegedly hatched a plot to kidnap Dylan using a GPS device hidden in a picture frame he sent and spirit him back to England. When the device was found, authorities arrested Thomas on May 27, 2007 and a search of his home turned up the footage, a journal including the names of child pornography websites and toys and movies tailored to young boys.
Thomas was also charged with molesting Blake, another teen who lived with him because his mother could not care for him. Blake was the only alleged victim who testified and was not on any of the photos or video.
During closing arguments, Keyes told jurors to consider that Blake didn’t disclose the alleged molestation to authorities until after learning about the videos. He also asked jurors to keep their emotions in check and question if everything they saw met the legal definition of sodomy or touching meant to cause arousal.
After Thomas’ conviction, jurors found he was sane while committing the abuse and should face incarceration rather than hospitalization.
During the sanity phase, Thomas, who had not testified in the guilt portion, told jurors he was uneducated about sex as a child in England and later felt having sex with minors was no different than the same acts with an adult. He told jurors the three boys had instigated the sexual encounters and that he captured the acts on film and video because he photographed “everything.”