PD: AZ foster dad arrested for fleeing serious crash

An Arizona foster dad is facing charges after allegedly running from the scene of a crash with two children in his care.

Phoenix police said Quentin Price first denied being involved in the crash in the 2400 block of East McDowell Road on Tuesday night.

Price later admitted to taking his 1-year-old and 5-year-old children out of the car following the crash and running away because he did not want to get arrested, according to the report. There was a misdemeanor warrant for Price's arrest.

His girlfriend, his 15-year-old daughter and 1-month-old child remained at the scene.

Price said he got into a stranger's car who took them to his apartment after he told the driver that he had warrants and needed to get away.

Police said Price's girlfriend was seriously hurt in the crash and is not able to care for the child.

Police said only the 1-month-old child was in a car seat, and it was not properly restrained.

Price was arrested on two counts of child abuse and one count of giving a false report to police.



Man faces 11½ years in sexual battery of foster children




A Henrico County man who as a teenager sexually preyed on foster children taken into his parents' home faces up to 11½ years in prison after pleading no contest to three charges of aggravated sexual battery Tuesday.

Leander B. Flood, now 25, whose last known address was the 2900 block of Kelsea Drive, will be formally sentenced in February under a plea agreement that drops nine felony charges but preserves convictions related to all three of the victims, now adults.

Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Nancy Oglesby said the incidents involved children placed in the Henrico home with Flood's parents by the Richmond Department of Social Services.

"None of the three children was in the home at the same time; there was no overlap," she said. Court documents state that Flood threatened his victims if they revealed what was happening.

Flood was indicted in July on charges related to incidents dating back to 2001 and extending until 2005. Oglesby said the plea agreement will preclude the necessity of the victims having to testify, each of whom was less than 13 years of age when the assaults occurred.

Flood himself was a juvenile at the time of the alleged assaults but will be sentenced as an adult; his attorney can argue in February for a sentence that falls below the maximum agreed to by the prosecution.


Police fear for foster child's safety

TROTWOOD, Ohio (WDTN) - Trotwood police want you to be on the lookout for a missing teenager.

Officers fear she may be with her foster father, Kyle Mobley.

He is wanted by Dayton police on robbery and sexual battery charges. He was recently featured on a Crime Stoppers Most Wanted story on 2 NEWS.

Police are looking for Memory Mobley, 14. They say she ran away from her foster home two weeks ago. They believe Kyle Mobley is with her.

The charges against Mobley do not involve Memory, but officers are still concerned for her safety.

"It's a concern of mine. I don't want a 14-year old to be in the presence of that type of criminal offense. Robberies are dangerous. Someone can come up hurt. The sexual assault speaks for itself," said Detective Joseph McCrary, Trotwood Police Department.

Investigators think the pair could be staying in vacant homes around Dayton.

Call the Trotwood Police Department if you have any information about this case at 228-8380.



Director of hospital that treats child molesters accused of raping foster child


By McClatchy-Tribune News Service

LOS ANGELES — The executive director of Napa State Hospital, a Northern Californiamental institution whose patients include convicted child molesters, was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of sexually molesting a foster child in his care for more than a decade.

Claude Edward Foulk, 62, had been charged Tuesday with 35 felony counts, including 22 counts of forcible oral copulation, 11 counts of sodomy by use of force and two counts of forcible lewd act on a child, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

Prosecutors asked that bail be set at $3.5 million.

If convicted on all counts, he faces a maximum sentence of 280 years in state prison.

Foulk, an appointee of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, allegedly began molesting the then-10-year-old boy in the fall of 1992, shortly after taking him in as a foster child. They lived in Long Beach at the time, authorities said.

The molestation allegedly continued through 2003, after Foulk and the youth moved to Walnut, east of downtown Los Angeles.

Prosecutors said there are "numerous" additional victims "who fall outside the statute of limitations." According to a statement from the Orange Countydistrict attorney's office, they cannot pursue cases of molestation that occurred before 1988 because of a U.S. Supreme Court decision.

Police were alerted to the allegations of sexual assault last year after one alleged victim, now in his 40s, discovered that Foulk was in charge of a hospital in Northern California.

Neither Foulk nor his attorney could be reached for comment.

State officials released a statement Wednesday afternoon saying Foulk had been removed from his job.

"Long Beach police served an arrest warrant at Napa State Hospital today, taking Executive Director Claude Edward Foulkinto custody on felony charges of child molestation," the statement read. "Foulk served as executive director at the hospital from 2007 to the present. The charges are related to incidents that predate Mr. Foulk's tenure at Napa State Hospital. Mr. Foulk's employment with the Department of Mental Health has been terminated, effective immediately."



Two women accused of having sex with foster teens

A Salt Lake County woman has been charged with having sex with her two teenage foster sons; another woman is also accused of having sexual conduct with the 17-year-old boys.

The foster mother, 31-year-old Delshawn Renee Little, was charged in 3rd District Court on Thursday with four counts of rape and two counts of forcible sodomy, first-degree felonies. She was also charged with lewdness, a misdemeanor. Millana LeBrea Jennesse, 35, was charged with four counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a 16- or 17-year-old, a third-degree felony. One of Little’s foster sons said he had sex with his foster mother on three occasions between June and September at their Kearns home, according to the charges. In July, Little also asked him to film her and her boyfriend having sex, the charges state.

On a separate occasion, the teenager and his foster brother went into Little’s bedroom, where their foster mother and Jennesse were, and the four engaged in sexual activity, the charges add.






4 parents suing Michigan over placement on child abuse and neglect registry

Here is a look at the four people who filed a federal lawsuit over Michigan Central Registry of Child Abuse and Neglect.

The parents say they have lost job opportunities, and been kept away from children's activities because of their status on the registry. They are represented by Jackson attorney Elizabeth Warner, who filed a 40-page lawsuit in U.S. District Court.

• Tracie Stempien of Kent County, a married mother and grandmother, was living in Montcalm County when a 15-year-old son falsely accused his father of punching him.

Police and CPS workers took two boys from the home before the teen admitted he had lied to police and bit his lip to create an injury.

Stempien found out she was on the list when she lost out on a job training program to become a certified nurse aide.

She was supposed to start training on March 7, 2011. The DHS had put her on the registry two weeks before the program started.

“Without having the (child protective services) file, especially the investigation report and the risk assessment, the plaintiff does not know the accusations, supporting and contradictory evidence, and her risk assessment score,” Warner wrote.

• Deborah Turner of Jackson, a married mother and grandmother, had worked as a secretary for the FBI in Detroit and Head Start in Jackson.

Earlier this year, she was fired from Head Start because she was on the registry.

It stemmed from a family decision in 2010 to return an adopted daughter to the state.

“They did this to protect the family from this violent and emotionally disturbed teen-ager and to get her the mental health care that they could not afford, but that the state refused to provide,” Warner wrote.

A psychiatrist had recommended long-term hospitalization based on the child’s diagnosis and behavior, not a family setting.

Turner and her husband turned the child over to the state when she was 15.

Department of Human Services has since provided residential mental-health treatment, Warner said.

The lawsuit said that a child-protective services worker assessed Turner as a “moderate risk,” which would not qualify her for the registry. The worker then used a “discretionary override option on the risk assessment form,” Warner wrote.

It elevated Turner’s score, and put her on the registry.

Turner filed a written request to Department of Human Services in Jackson County be expunged from the registry. It was denied.

She later requested an expedited hearing because she could lose her job at Head Start. Her appeal papers were not sent to the state for a hearing for 14 months, the lawsuit said.

She lost her job of 17 years at Head Start in February.

• Helen Miller was “one of the most respected foster parents in Calhoun County until she got put on the registry,” Warner said.

Miller and her husband had been foster parents to 100 children over 25 years. They adopted 11, and had an “extraordinary” record of caring for children, the Foster Care Review Board said.

Miller’s trouble came on July 27, 2011, when she allowed two young foster children to stay overnight at her adult daughter’s home.

She didn’t that her daughter’s ex-husband stayed there on occasion. The children were at the home when police conducted a drug raid, and found drugs hidden by the ex-husband, the lawsuit said.

The state removed all five of Miller’s foster children.

The Foster Care Review Board, in response to an investigator’s threat that Miller would be placed on the registry, wrote in a report: “The board has great difficulty in understanding how a self-admitted, one-time error in judgment by Mrs. Miller is deserving of a ‘life sentence’ on Michigan’s Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry.”

After a hearing in Calhoun County Family Court, the two foster children present at the drug raid were returned to Miller. She was cleared of any neglect. Requests to have her record expunged have been denied, however.

“Despite the registry listing, the Calhoun County judiciary has entrusted children to the plaintiff, but DHS will not place any more foster children with her,” Warner wrote.

• Timothy Medley of Jackson, raising stepchildren with his second wife, is a business owner and homeowner who says he is rehabilitated after a prison sentence.

He is trying to gain custody of his two school-aged children who were removed from their mother in 2008 while he was in prison.

In 2009 a judge terminated both parents’ parental rights. A year later, the state Court of Appeals reversed the order at Medley’s request.

Medley asked for the return of the children.

A CPS worker then put him in the Central Registry, citing “failure to protect, mental injury, threatened harm,” court records said.

Medley’s attorney said the allegations could not be current because he hadn’t seen his children since 2006 because he was locked up and they were in foster care.

Medley wants to be removed from the registry so that he can better participate in his children’s lives, act as a chaperone on field trips, and coach their sports teams, his attorney said.

“And he has the stigma of being labeled a ‘child abuser,’ which is worse than being a felon.’”


Abuse within foster families systemic, hurts

In July 1996, two 9-year-old twin sisters and their 7-year-old brother were removed from the abusive home of their biological mother and placed in foster care.

Making the decision to remove a child from a family is among the most complicated, controversial and difficult choices that the government can make. Under Washington state law, child-welfare workers can file a “dependency” petition when a child is being abused or neglected; the children are removed and the circumstances investigated. Usually, the problems in the home are addressed and the children return. The goal is to keep families together.

In extreme cases, the child may be placed with a guardian or foster family; in the rarest instances, a biological parent’s rights will be terminated and the child can be adopted.

Unsurprisingly, the process is often controversial and greeted with resistance, particularly in the most rural reaches of the state. Edith Vance, the same social worker charged with helping the three children in 1996, was attacked in 2005 by a father wielding a machete during a child welfare check.

In the earlier case, the children were removed from the rural Stevens County home of their biological mother following years of concerns over abuse and neglect. They were placed in the newly licensed Chewelah foster home of Michael and Sylvia Wenger. The Wengers had a spotty record; they were licensed in December 1995 and given the care of a toddler. Within just a few months, though, the child was removed when state workers learned that Sylvia Wenger had made “material omissions” in her application to be a foster mother – including failing to detail the criminal and violent activities of herself and her family.

The children’s social worker recommended the Wengers not be licensed as foster parents. A supervisor overruled that recommendation, and soon thereafter, the twin sisters and their brother were moved into the couple’s care. In January 1997, a 15-month-old boy was also placed with the Wengers.

What happened to the four children in the Wenger home became simply an extension – a deepening – of the horrors they’d already endured. The children say in court records that they were regularly struck with boards, wooden spoons, belts and other objects. They say they were forced to stand in a corner for hours, locked into closets and force-fed for punishment. They were home-schooled and had little contact with the outside world.

And Michael Wenger molested the girls. Beginning when his wife was pregnant with their first biological child in 1997, he molested the twin girls regularly.

The three older children say they told Vance, the social worker, about the abuse repeatedly – on several specific occasions, according to their lawsuit, in 1997 and 1998. The biological mother of the youngest child says she reported suspicions that her son was being sexually abused in the Wenger home to state officials in 1997.

Vance has flatly denied being told of the abuse. In a sworn statement to the court, Vance details several reports and interviews she had with the family, as well as consultations with a therapist who treated the kids: “At no time” did they tell her they were being abused or neglected, she said. “To the contrary, by all indications available to me, the children thrived in the Wenger home.”

In 1998, the Wengers, with the assistance and approval of the Department of Social and Health Services, adopted the children.

The abuse went on for five years, the children say. In 2001, one of the girls ran away. She fled to a former foster house and told them what was happening. CPS removed her from the house and opened an investigation. While the monthlong investigation proceeded, the three other children remained in the Wenger home, where the abuse allegedly continued.

The kids were finally removed and placed into other foster families. Michael Wenger was convicted of child molestation and served seven years in prison; he is now listed as a level 2 sex offender.

The children filed a lawsuit against the state, Vance and others in 2011. The twin girls are now 25; one lives in Spokane County and one in Pierce County. Their brother is 23 and living in Snohomish County. The youngest child is 17.

All of them suffer dramatic, long-term effects from the abuse, according to psychological evaluations, ranging from depression to anxiety to symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. One is described as “chronically suicidal.” One doctor said that the youngest child’s extreme inability to control his sexual impulses – the likely result of being sexualized at an early age – as well as other severe problems with social interaction make it unlikely that he will ever live independently as an adult.

The crux of the lawsuit – and the state’s liability – rested on the decision made in 1995 to license the Wengers. It is easy to view such decisions in hindsight as much simpler and more clear-cut than they really are.

And yet it is hard to picture how the Wengers presented a close call as potential foster parents, from the origins of their relationship – 21-year-old Michael dating 14-year-old Sylvia – to Sylvia Wenger’s dishonesty on her application to the issues raised in her psychological evaluation. You might be reluctant to hire someone like that to manage the till at a concession stand.

The weakness of the state’s position on this question was exemplified by a document state attorneys filed early in the case.

Referring to the psychologist’s report on Sylvia Wenger, they wrote, “The evaluation provided a less-than-flattering depiction of Ms. Wenger, but the involved psychologist opined in relevant part that ‘Many people who provide good and adequate parenting and foster parenting show personality difficulties even more serious than those found in Sylvia Wenger.’

Unsurprisingly, the state did not dedicate itself to this argument. It settled the case for $5.3 million Oct. 1.

In announcing the settlement, the DSHS pointed to a long list of improvements it has made in the licensing and oversight of foster families.

These include an expanded, more rigorous process of background checks and evaluating applicants, as well as more frequent visits by social workers once children are placed in homes. At each stage, more people are involved in the decision-making.

The plaintiffs’ attorney, Allen Ressler, said he’s not sure whether all the problems apparent in this case have been sufficiently addressed. He continues to take on cases with some frequency from people alleging abuse and neglect in the foster care system.

“Is it happening less frequently?” he said. “I hope so.”


DCS settles suit in foster child's death


The Indiana Department of Child Services has settled its part of a lawsuit involving the death of a 16-month-old girl while she was in foster care.

The lawyer for Alissa B. Guernsey's mother told the South Bend Tribune that the agency has agreed to pay $150,000 to Kelli Sprunger for its alleged role in her daughter's March 2009 death.

DCS spokeswoman Stephanie McFarland told The Associated Press on Saturday that a settlement had been signed but the paperwork hasn't been finalized. She says the settlement doesn't admit any fault.

The 2010 lawsuit claims the child died from unexplained injuries after the DCS placed her with Sprunger's cousin and her family.

Sprunger's cousin was later convicted of neglect and served 77 days of a four-year sentence.


Foster Care Allegations


A Jackson mother says she wants answers about her four children who are in foster care in the custody of the Department of Human Services. She sent WLBT pictures of her two sons, one with what appears to be rope burns on his neck. 28 year old LaKendra Travis says she was told it was an accident.

This is one of four pictures LaKendra Travis sent to WLBT. She says this is her 7 year old son, who has ADHD and a genetic history of bi-polar disorder. She says it is a condition that results in problems with his behavior.

"The only way I'm getting him to cope with the things that have already happened to him was to love him through it, and we fought as a family, myself and Mr. Travis have been together for 3 years and we've been fighting together as a family to gain control of our household and to get them on track, which we did," said LaKendra Travis.

Travis says her four children, 3 boys who are 9, 7 and 2 years old and her 4 year old daughter were taken into the custody of the Department of Human Services, August 3rd. She maintains the children were taken when criminal charges were filed after a family dispute. Travis insists there have been no charges of child abuse.

"We are willing to comply. We're willing to go through the stipulations. We're not asking for any special treatment or to expedite them back to us. I just want things to be done in order, so that they will not suffer," Travis said.

She saw this injury to the 7 year old September 10th during a visit. Travis was told it happened during a game of tug of war with a rope.

"He said that it happened when he got too close to a rope and the social worker suggested when she saw him it was tug of war," said Travis.

Travis also sent pictures of her 9 year old son who says he got these cuts to his face from something sharp in his bed at his foster home. Travis is also concerned he is not getting proper treatment for eczema. He has been diagnosed with ADHD and ODD, which is oppositional defiant disorder.

"I can't just stop, I want to fight for my kids, I'm gonna continue to fight for my kids," Travis said.

Travis and her husband were married August 8th and are now waiting to go back before a judge to regain custody of the children.

"I can't say that I'm afraid because I really don't want to think something is actually going on. I really am hoping that nothing is," said Travis.

DHS did send us a statement in response to LaKendra Travis' complaint. Mary Redding a Regional Area Social Work Supervisor sent us an email saying DHS will be conducting an investigation into the allegations.

Redding also said DHS has a special procedure for conducting investigations that they adhere to when allegations are made. We were also told by DHS officials any claim that a child is being mistreated or harmed is taken seriously and investigated.



Foster child alleges sexual assault

A 17-year-old girl who says she was sexually assaulted by her foster parents' adult adopted son wept and sighed during a second day of vigorous cross-examination by the defence.

The complainant was 14 years old between Jan. 18 and April 15, 2009, when her 23-year-old foster brother touched her sexually on at least one occasion and had intercourse with her at least twice, she testified this week in Saskatoon Court of Queen's Bench.

The assaults are alleged to have occurred in the basement rumpus room at a Saskatoon-area acreage and in a trailer on the property.

The foster parents had custody of seven children and, with the help of paid assistants, provided short-term emergency care for varying numbers of other children, court heard.

A publication ban protects the identity of the girl, who underwent seven hours of detailed and sometimes confusing questioning by defence lawyer Kevin Liesler over two days.

After hours of questioning, she showed difficulty deciphering the timelines of details of the assaults as they were put to her repeatedly and she made inconsistent statements.

A calendar, on which she had noted dates of the alleged assaults, was entered as an exhibit.

Court heard social workers removed the girl from the home in April 2009 and placed her in a "safe house."

In a video-recorded statement to the RCMP the next day, the girl apparently expected to return soon to the only home she had ever known, as she referred to her plans to be with her family that coming weekend.

She said that she hadn't disclosed the incidents to her foster mother out of fear that she would kick the accused out of the house and the girl didn't want the person she considered to be her brother, to lose his home.

"I just want it to stop," she said in the statement.

But it was the girl who lost her home and the adults she called mom and dad. She has never returned to live with the family.

The girl said the man has ruined her life. The accused did not testify, but his girlfriend testified for the defence and provided possible alibis.

The 29-year-old produced an appointment book in which she had circled all the dates from December 2008 to mid-April 2009 when she said she and the accused had spent nights together.

Court heard she showed the book to the defence lawyer after the 2010 preliminary hearing when the complainant's calendar was examined

Ex-foster parent accused of sex crimes with children

A former foster parent is in jail on suspicion of numerous sex crimes against seven children under his care from 2005 to 2011.

Steven Joseph Holland, 52, was arrested Thursday at his Phoenix home near Happy Valley Road and 51st Avenue, culminating a 13-month investigation by Phoenix police that began when a 4-year-old boy told a daycare worker he had been molested by his foster parent, said Sgt. Steve Martos of the Phoenix Police Department.

"It just shatters the trust you have in fellow humans that they would do something like this to a little child," said one neighbor.

Child Protective Services was notified and Phoenix detectives began an investigation, though not enough evidence was found to warrant an arrest, Martos said.

Meanwhile, CPS revoked the foster license of Holland his wife, Alma Holland. No children were under their care after the revocation, Martos said.

Police eventually identified seven victims formerly under Holland's care, some of them special needs children.

The crimes ranged from sexual conduct with a minor, sexual abuse, child molestation, providing obscene material to a minor and secretive videotaping.

The victims included five girls and two boys ranging from 4 to 17 years old.

Alma Holland, 55, was charged with child abuse for failing to notify police of the crimes. Court documents showed that Alma Holland was told by one of the victims of the abuse, and walked in on Steven Holland and another victim on another occasion.

A 95-year-old woman was found to be in the care of the Hollands when officers served a search warrant on Thursday.



Identity Thieves Target More Foster Children


When Christina Ives of Pacific Beach turned 16 years old, she wanted was a job. It was something she really needed at the time. Her father was homeless. He mother was an alcoholic, and she was in foster care. Ives applied to a number of places and landed a position with Mervyn's. Just days before her first day of school, she received a letter that she had been terminated. Her employers told Ives her social security number wasn't her own.

She says it definitely was.

According to the Identity Theft Resource Center based in San Diego, Ives story is troublesome, but not uncommon. Nikki Junker, a victim advisor, says, "Foster children are moved around. The child's information is going through a system, a bureaucracy and going from desk to desk to desk."

Junker says identity thieves are targeting more children as a whole. A recent study out of Carnegie Mellon CyLab documenting more than 40,000 children showed more than 10% had someone else using their social security numbers. The largest fraud, totalling $725,000, was committed against a 16-year-old girl just like Christina Ives. The youngest victim was 5-months-old.

If you find you are a victim of identity theft, or specifically child identity theft, here are some resources from the Identity Theft Resource Center.


Washington settles foster-care abuse case for $5.3 million

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The state of Washington will pay $5.3 million to four people who were placed in an abusive foster home as children.

The court settlement was reached Monday and is intended to head off a trial scheduled for next year.

The four plaintiffs filed negligence and civil rights claims against the Department of Social and Health Services and one social worker.

The lawsuit was originally filed in Stevens County Superior Court, and moved to federal court in Spokane.

The plaintiffs allege they were placed in an abusive foster home with Sylvia and Michael Wenger, who later adopted the children. The plaintiffs contend they were emotionally, physically and/or sexually abused in the home.

Neighbor, child welfare official stunned after arrest of foster father for child abuse


The lights are off and nobody's been home at 377 Staver Road in Brecknock Township. It's a difficult sight for Mike Goddard, whose neighbor of several years, Joshua Martin, 23, was arrested last week after State Police say he viciously abused and punched his three-year-old foster daughter, Belle, in their home.

"Total disbelief. It's even hard to comprehend. To understand what's happened over there," Goddard said.

Belle has been in critical condition for more than a week, after she was taken to Reading Hospital in an unresponsive state with a traumatic brain injury. She was then transported to Hershey Medical Center.

"What he did was horrible. But I knew these guys. And they were beautiful people, they were nice people," Goddard added.

Jim Laughman, director of Lancaster County's Department of Human Services, said Martin and his wife easily passed a thorough background check and screening process before Belle and her two younger siblings were placed in their home.

"There was nothing that would indicate anything at all. Sometimes people do bad things and you can't control some of that. We wish we could. We would prevent a lot of tragedies in this world if we could predict the future," Laughman said.

Goddard said his thoughts are now with Martin's wife, Marla, who is not charged with any crime, and the little girl still fighting for her life in Hershey Medical Center's ICU.

"God bless that little girl," he said. "I really hope she comes out of this."

Members of Belle's biological family are planning a candlelight vigil for Saturday. October 6th at 8 p.m. at Sam Lewis Park in Wrightsville, York County. Family members encourage the public to attend.

No foster care changes planned after girl abused



No changes to the foster care system are expected despite a 3-year-old girl being near death, her foster father behind bars and a state investigation.

Taken from her birth mother because she did not have a safe home of her own, 3-year-old Belle came to a home in Reinholds to live with 23-year-old Joshua Martin and his wife. They had been foster parents for two years.

Court papers show between Sept. 21 and 23, Martin got annoyed with Belle because she was throwing up. The documents said he admitted to getting rough with the 3-year-old, hitting her head on a wooden door frame and punching her in the face.

Belle is on life support at Penn State Hershey Medical Center.

Lancaster County Human Service Director Jim Laughman talked about the foster family on Tuesday.

"Everything came back crystal clear on the family. They had great references, everybody spoke very positively about them," Laughman said.

The county said it puts potential parents through state and federal background checks, does orientations, trainings, interviews and monthly home visits.

"There was no indication that there was any problem," Laughman said.

He said the county is looking into the problem, but it doesn't plan to make any changes right now.

"The reality may be we may never find a reason why. Sometimes people make bad choices and they snap," Laughman said.

Belle's mother said she is afraid someone else may snap. She is fighting to get her other two children out of foster care, even though they are no longer in the care of the Martins