Man accused of sex abuse by former foster child

Relates to:
Date: 2006-06-09

Man accused of sex abuse by former foster child

June 9, 2006
By Nathan Hurst

A Redmond man was arrested Wednesday night during a church-choir practice on suspicion of sexual misconduct involving three children placed in his care by state authorities.

Redmond police arrested Enrique Fabregas, 52, after an investigation spurred by allegations in February by Estera Tamas, 19, his former foster daughter, according to police spokeswoman Stacey Holland.

The Times does not usually identify victims of sexual crimes. Tamas gave her consent because she said there could be others who suffered abuse by Fabregas and she wants to encourage them to come forward.

A police statement Thursday said investigators had "uncovered mounds of evidence which included child pornography, videotapes, photos and computer records."

Most of the evidence contained explicit images of Fabregas and the three children, police said. Tamas' allegations of abuse span a period from 1999 through 2005.

"He raped me. He molested me and videotaped me while he had sex with me," Tamas said in a telephone interview Thursday.

The two younger children, including the 12-year-old girl Fabregas adopted in 1998, were also abused, she said.

Fabregas could face charges of child rape, child molestation, sexual misconduct with a minor, indecent liberties with a minor, and possession of child pornography and stolen property, police said.

The 12-year-old girl was removed from the home immediately after the February allegations and placed in the care of another foster family, said Kathy Spears, spokeswoman for the state Department of Social and Health Services.

Tamas said complaints of the abuse were "basically ignored" by DSHS officials. Probable-cause documents being filed with King County prosecutors by Redmond police indicate 26 complaints to DSHS while the children were in Fabregas' care.

Spears said the allegations from 2002-04 brought forward to her agency — at least eight of which were sexual in nature — were investigated thoroughly, but that all came back with the same conclusion: There wasn't enough evidence to substantiate the claims.

Because of the history of allegations, state officials demanded Fabregas undergo a sexual-deviancy evaluation in 2004 to keep his foster-parent license. After he failed to do so, his license was revoked and the middle child was moved to another foster home, Spears said.

The youngest remained, however, because she had been adopted and Fabregas held full legal custody.

Fabregas' role in the three children's lives began in the 1990s, according to police documents and Tamas' account.

Despite a long history of drug and weapons charges in the 1970s and '80s, Fabregas was allowed to become a foster father for the three children — and adopt the youngest — in 1998 after a King County judge issued him a certificate of rehabilitation, according to Spears and court documents.

His application to become a foster parent included recommendations from more than 20 community supporters encouraging DSHS to allow him to take the three children into his home and adopt the youngest.

"During my time as a teacher, I have had hundreds, even thousands of meetings with parents, to discuss the development of their child," one person wrote in support of Fabregas. "When I think of parents who have a genuine concern for their child and its health (both physically as well as mentally), I know that [Fabregas] is a father who wants only the best for his daughter."

Tamas said that outward appearance of responsibility — which included involvement at Redmond's Overlake Christian Church and with a local Big Brothers program — was a façade.

But it was enough to convince judges in King and Snohomish counties to place the three children with Fabregas.

Spears said her agency's efforts to help the three children were hindered by the fact that on more than one occasion, the victims recanted their allegations.

Tamas said she and the other two children were fearful of retaliation. Her six years in the home were riddled with continuous sexual abuse, much of it under the influence of alcohol and drugs such as cocaine and Ecstasy that Fabregas forced her to take, she said.

Nathan Hurst: 206-464-2112 or nhurst@seattletimes.com

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