Ex-foster dad sentenced for sexual abuse

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Date: 2007-08-13

Ex-foster dad sentenced for sexual abuse

August 13, 2007
By Maureen O'Hagan
Seattle Times

A former Redmond man was sentenced to four years in prison this morning for sexually abusing his foster daughter.

In sentencing Enrique Fabregas, 53, to the top of the sentencing-guidelines range, King County Superior Court Judge Richard Eadie cited a "long history of cruel exploitation" of Estera Tamas, now 20, and noted the "undoubtedly devastating" effects it had on her, her sisters and another adoptive child.

In May, after being jailed for nearly a year, Fabregas entered an Alford plea to sexual exploitation of a minor and communicating with a minor for immoral purposes. An Alford plea means he did not admit guilt but acknowledged there was enough evidence to convict him.

Tamas, who told the judge she was introduced to drugs by Fabregas, said at the sentencing that she suffers flashbacks of repeated sexual and physical abuse by Fabregas. She told investigators the abuse began when she was a young teen. The conviction was based on sexually explicit photos of her when she was 17 that were found in Fabregas' house.

"He made me feel like garbage," Tamas said. In asking for a stiff sentence, Tamas said, "I fear for the next little girl he would destroy." The Times does not normally publish the names of victims of sexual abuse. In this case, Estera Tamas agreed to be named.

Two younger sisters also read statements at the hearing describing repeated incidents of physical abuse, including beating and choking, as well as emotional abuse. Both described incidents of being locked in a room for days. Jennifer Tamas, 17, recounted punishments in which Fabregas forced her and Ruth Tamas, 19, to kneel for hours on the floor with their arms in the air. Fabregas would leave the girls that way when he left the house, telling them he had trained a video camera on them; if they flinched, they would be killed. The girls believed him.

"By 10 minutes, your knees ache," Jennifer Tamas said. "By 20 minutes, you lose feeling in your arms. By an hour, you begin to shake and cry." But they didn't dare move.

Fabregas had another side, as well, the girls acknowledged. He was a member of Overlake Christian Church, where he sang in the choir and made many friends. He was funny and flamboyant, charming just about everyone with his outsized personality and Spanish accent. He told stories that captivated even the state Department of Social and Health Services workers who investigated repeated complaints against him, coming up empty-handed each time.

But the once-charming foster father said not a word during the hearing. As he shuffled from the courtroom in handcuffs, he turned to the three girls, winked and said a single word.

"Ciao."

Maureen O'Hagan: 206-464-2562 or mohagan@seattletimes.com

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