Police face claims from abuse victims

The Seattle Times

July 9, 2006

Children sexually abused by their foster father filed multimillion-dollar claims against police departments in Seattle and Tacoma, saying both failed to immediately report the abuse to the state.

Each of the eight children's claims, precursors to a lawsuit, ranges between $2.5 million and $4 million.

Representatives from Seattle and Tacoma police departments said they are prohibited from commenting on pending litigation. They have 60 days to respond to the claims.

Prosecutors said Ronald Young posted pornographic pictures of his foster children, ages 5 to 12, on the Internet.

The photos were traced to Washington state in September 2003 by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, which notified Seattle police, Tacoma lawyer Jack Connelly said.

Investigators in Seattle were legally obligated to notify state Child Protective Services within 24 hours, he said, but instead they determined that the man was from PierceCounty and sent the information to police in Tacoma. Officers there said they didn't receive the information until three months later, Connelly said.

Young was arrested in March 2004.

He pleaded guilty in April 2005 to two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, one count of second-degree child rape and one count of possessing child pornography. He was sentenced in Pierce County Superior Court to 26 years in prison.

Last year, some of the children sued the state and Young, contending the state Department of Social and Health Services failed to adequately screen Young or monitor his home when he became a foster parent. That trial is set for October.

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