State to pay $7.3 million to 3 abused as foster children

The state of Washington has agreed to pay $7.3 million to three former foster children who were sexually or physically abused in a Redmond home.


Seattle Times staff reporter

The state of Washington has agreed to pay $7.3 million to three former foster children who were sexually or physically abused in a Redmond home.

Details on the settlement won't be available until it is approved by the court, according to the state Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS).

Despite receiving at least 28 complaints of physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, exploitation and licensing violations between 1996 and 2006, DSHS still left the three girls in the care of Enrique Fabregas, according to the lawsuit the girls' attorney filed in 2007 in King County Superior Court.

In 1998, DSHS discovered that Fabregas had lied on his foster-care license application about his criminal record, but it failed to hold him accountable, according to court papers. Fabregas had a long history of arrests, drug abuse and criminal convictions, the lawsuit says.

Finally, in June 2006, Fabregas was charged with three counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and possession of child pornography.

In May 2007, he pleaded guilty to reduced charges of one count of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes. He was sentenced to four years in prison by a King County Superior Court judge. DSHS said in a Friday news release that he had been deported.

During the criminal trial, the former foster children told the court they had been abused by Fabregas for years.

One of the victims told Superior Court Judge Richard Eadie in 2007 that she had flashbacks of Fabregas sexually and physically abusing her and threatening to kill her if she told anyone. She told the court that he made her feel like garbage.

Her sister said Fabregas would make her copy Bible verses for hours, often on topics such as lying and stealing. He would then present her "confessions" to Child Protective Services when she later made allegations against him.

Another victim said Fabregas would force her and another of the girls to kneel for hours on the floor with their arms in the air. When he left the house, he told the girls he was videotaping them and if they flinched they would be killed.

Fabregas' victims described being beaten, choked and emotionally abused.

DSHS spokesman Thomas Shapley said in a news release Friday that the agency believes the $7.3 million settlement "fairly compensates the plaintiffs, who can use the settlement to meet any special needs they may have in the future."

"We take to heart any situation in which harm is inflicted on a child with whom we've had contact, take each child's situation personally and use each child's case as a lesson to evaluate our training and practice," the statement said.

Information from The Seattle Times archives was included in this report.

Queenie Wong: 206-464-2108 or qwong@seattletimes.com