By Amy Frazier
PORTLAND, Oreg. (KOIN) — A former foster father accused of victimizing a foster child in his care faced a judge on Monday.
Jerrett Hetrick, 32, is facing multiple sex abuse charges involving a teen that he and his wife cared for, according to authorities.
The victim told investigators the abuse happened at Hetrick’s Troutdale home multiple times in early February.
According to court documents, undercover detectives sent text messages to Hetrick, using the victim’s cell phone. He replied to the texts, admitting the abuse, investigators said.
The Department of Human Services (DHS) said certified foster parents like Hetrick go through an extensive home study process, which looks at their stability and relationships.
Applicants must have multiple references, receive special training and undergo criminal background checks, DHS said. Hetrick went through all the required process and had no criminal history, according DHS.
“I think with anything, you put as many safeguards in place as you can and there’s things that are going to go wrong,” said Norene Owens, Foster Care and Visitation Program manager for District 22. “That’s the most heartbreaking aspect, but we’re not in the homes 24/7; it’s just impossible to have a crystal ball.”
DHS officials said they are looking into whether Hetrick cared for any other foster children prior to the teen who accused him of sex abuse.
Hetrick entered a not guilty plea in court on Monday.