Foster father admits sex crimes

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Date: 2007-05-15

Foster father admits sex crimes

May 15, 2007
Natalie Singer
Seattle Times

A former foster father who had sex with one girl and has been accused of abusing two other girls placed in his care by the state will face a standard sentencing range of 2½ to 3½ years in prison after he pleaded guilty Monday to reduced charges.

Enrique Fabregas, 53, of Redmond, pleaded guilty to one count of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes. He originally was charged in June with three counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, which could have brought him seven to 10 years in prison.

Court documents allege that his former foster daughter, Estera Tamas, now 20, was sexually abused by Fabregas starting at age 13 or 14, and that she was bribed with cocaine and clothes to keep quiet. (The Seattle Times generally does not name victims of suspected sexual abuse, but Tamas agreed to be named.)

Police found numerous sexually explicit photographs of her in Fabregas' home, according to charging papers.

He also isolated his adopted daughter, now 13, from social contact, police said, keeping her home from school regularly, having her sleep in his bed and sexually assaulting her.

Another foster daughter, now 19, told police she was physically abused and saw video of Fabregas having sex with Tamas.

King County prosecutors could not charge Fabregas with the more serious crime of child rape because of statute-of-limitation issues, questions about how old Tamas was during the assaults, and concern about proof issues that could have arisen at trial, said Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Roger Rogoff.

King County Prosecutor's Office spokesman Dan Donohoe said Monday that despite reducing the charges against Fabregas, the deal was fair because "it would send him to prison. He's being held accountable at a felony level."

However, an attorney for the three victims — who filed a civil lawsuit in April against the state Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) for its alleged role in their long-running abuse — said he believes the agency bears partial blame for the reduction in charges.

"Because of DSHS' inability to get this to law enforcement many years ago, the statue of limitations for his crimes has passed," said attorney David P. Moody.

"DSHS did not protect the public interest when they didn't apprise law enforce of what this monster was up to."

DSHS records show that between 1996 and 2004 Fabregas was the subject of 25 complaints to the agency, eight of them alleging sexual abuse or exploitation.

But only one of those — failing to report there was a dog in the home — resulted in action against Fabregas.

It wasn't until a Redmond detective got a search warrant last year and found photographs and videos depicting child pornography and Tamas' abuse that the youngest girl, adopted in 1999, was removed. The two others, 18 and 19 at the time, had already been removed.

Although Fabregas claimed to DSHS to be free of criminal convictions, records show he had at least six convictions for crimes, including carrying a concealed weapon, theft and drug possession, before receiving his foster-care license.

Fabregas finally lost his foster-care license in 2004, after refusing to take a sexual-deviancy exam requested by DSHS.

He is scheduled to be sentenced at 1 p.m. June 29 before King County Superior Court Judge Richard Eadie.

Natalie Singer: 206-464-2704 or nsinger@seattletimes.com

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