Foster dad gets 4 years for sexual exploitation

Relates to:
Date: 2007-08-13

Foster dad gets 4 years for sexual exploitation

Behind the flash, sisters say parent was a monster

August 13, 2007

Enrique Fabregas was a flashy man known to wear alligator-skin boots and brag about mob connections -- and at the same time portray himself as a dedicated dad doing his best to take care of his foster daughters.

But in King County Superior Court on Monday, those girls described him as a monster. Behind the closed doors of their Redmond home, they said, he would mete out spiteful punishment, humiliation and sexual abuse.

Fabregas was sentenced to four years in prison for sexually exploiting his eldest foster daughter and communicating with her for immoral purposes.

The former church-choir singer -- whose actions are the subject of a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the state -- must also get sexual-deviancy treatment and never be in a position of authority over children again.

Estera Tamas, now 20, said Fabregas used her "for his sick, selfish pleasures," destroying her innocence and taking away her dreams.

"I feared that if I told anyone, he would blame me for the abuse," she said. "He has told me if I didn't keep my mouth shut, he would kill me or have me killed."

Judge Richard Eadie imposed the longest sentence allowed for the charges, saying that children should know "our legal system will do everything possible to protect them."

King County deputy prosecutor Roger Rogoff called what Fabregas did an abuse of the community's trust.

Fabregas' attorney, Douglas Holt, noted that Tamas and other girls in the home had given conflicting stories over the years, alternately accusing the man and begging to stay with him.

"Mr. Fabregas was not a perfect father," Holt wrote in court papers. "He definitely made his share of mistakes, but Mr. Fabregas is not the monster the girls and their attorney are now portraying him to be."

Fabregas, 53, who declined to speak in court, has admitted taking sexually explicit photos of Tamas, but claimed she was by then 18.

Tamas, however, told police he began behaving sexually toward her much earlier and was giving her cocaine and having sex with her by the time she was 17.

Prosecutors say they couldn't charge him with child rape -- a more serious charge -- because they couldn't prove that Tamas was under the age of 14 when the abuse began. Rape of an older teen has a statute of limitations of three years.

(The Seattle P-I doesn't normally name sexual-abuse victims, but Tamas told her story publicly last year.)

In an emotional court hearing Monday, Tamas and two others who lived with Fabregas told of the man they say lurked behind the image of a flamboyant charmer who wore a fedora and carried a cash-filled money clip.

They said he was a drug addict who encouraged them to smoke and steal. A short-tempered man who punched and choked them, or threatened to have his mob buddies kill them. A cruel punisher who would make them kneel for achingly long hours with their noses pressed against the wall.

Tamas' sister, Ruth, now 19, said he once took a permanent pen and wrote something to the effect of "Don't tell me anything; I am a snitch" on her favorite shirt and made her wear it to school, with a fake rat tied around her neck.

A younger girl who lived in the home has accused Fabregas of raping her, but prosecutors said there wasn't enough evidence or corroboration to charge him.

Three of his former foster daughters are suing the Department of Social and Health Services in U.S. District Court in Seattle. Their attorneys contend the state ignored more than two-dozen warnings about the man, allowing him to escape more serious charges as the girls continued to endure abuse.

In court documents, Redmond police detective Jennifer Baldwin said the case "represents the most horrific example of bureaucratic disregard for the health and safety of young children that I have ever seen."

Fabregas first began taking care of the Tamas girls when he was dating their mother. The woman ended up in prison, however, when she began dating another man and tried to persuade Fabregas to kill the man's wife.

Fabregas instead told police about the plot and helped them build a case against her, according to court papers.

P-I reporter Tracy Johnson can be reached at 206-467-5942 or


Pound Pup Legacy