The state of Oregon seems to be under the impression that running a God-Awful child welfare department is a good thing. Their most recent screw up is the credible account of a 14-year-old foster boy that child welfare workers had sex in front of him last year.
According to a state police report child welfare supervisor Mark Walsh and paralegal Kate Guy were having an affair before the night they spent supervising the boy at a hotel. Oregon has a practice of housing children in hotels, state offices and other temporary lodging when state workers cannot find anywhere else for children in the foster system to stay. A year ago, Oregon child welfare leaders signed a court settlement promising to stop housing vulnerable foster children in hotels, state offices and juvenile detention centers instead of with families. Since the settlement, the state has placed dramatically more children and teens in institutional settings including repurposed juvenile jails.
Regarding the child who watched the sex act, after the state police report was completed, the Oregon Department of Justice declined to file any charges against Walsh and Guy, saying that there was “insufficient evidence to prove criminal charges beyond a reasonable doubt.”
A lawyer for the boy accused the state of sending the boy to a juvenile detention facility as punishment after he reported the incident.
The boy’s caseworker, Jaclyn Trujillo, visited him at the Yamhill County juvenile detention center because it was not clear from the report why the boy was at the detention center.
“During this conversation (the boy) told Trujillo something happened” at the hotel on the night of Nov. 20, but he did not want to disclose what it was, according to the police report.
Eventually, the boy told Trujillo that Walsh and Guy were “doing stuff.” When Trujillo asked if they were having sex, the boy said “yes,” according to the police report. Trujillo immediately reported the allegation to her supervisors. Walsh and Guy were placed on paid leave two days later.
As part of the state police investigation, the boy underwent a child forensic interview at an organization that screens for child abuse. Using dolls, the boy described in detail how the sexual encounter allegedly unfolded in the bed adjacent to his that night at the hotel.