Author: GORDON OLIVER - of the Oregonian Staff
Summary: A judge decides not to return 19 children to Sherry Scott after she admits she did not provide proper care
Judge Gayle Nachtigal of Washington County Juvenile Court decided Wednesday to keep 19 children of Sherry Scott in state custody, in most cases at least until August.
Nachtigal made her decision after Sherry Scott and her estranged husband, Carl, admitted that they had not provided adequate care for their children, many of whom are emotionally or physically disabled. Their admission eliminates the need for a trial on the state's allegations of neglect. The decision will be reviewed in another custody hearing in August.
Sherry Scott, a former Cornelius resident now living in Eugene, asked Nachtigal to return 13 children to her care. She said she was not ready to take the other six children because of their special needs.
The children were among 27 taken from the Scotts in February after the Children's Services Division found their home unsanitary and the children not adequately supervised.
Nachtigal rejected Scott's request, but gave the Children's Services Division authority to return two boys to Scott's care this summer. Attorneys for the boys, ages 9 and 16, said the boys wanted to live with their mother.
The judge said she was concerned that Scott appeared to be blaming other people, including her adult daughter, Bridget, for problems that threatened the welfare of her children.
``These things happened on your watch,'' Nachtigal told Sherry Scott, who appeared distraught throughout the two-hour hearing. ``You, ma'am, are responsible.''
Nachtigal considered the status Wednesday only of the 19 children who are the birth or adopted children of the Scotts.
In separate hearings Tuesday, Nachtigal decided that seven children unrelated to the Scotts should remain in state custody. She returned one boy to the custody of his parents in Washington state.
Sherry Scott told the court that she is living with one adult son in a home owned by friends in Eugene. Although the home is for sale, Scott said her friends had promised to give her at least 60 days to move if the house is sold. Carl Scott now lives in Forest Grove.
Sherry Scott said she had applied for welfare and food stamps and wants to buy a home if she sells her home in Cornelius.
Scott's attorney, Charles Porter, said outside court that Scott also is still considering moving to Condon and opening a restaurant.
Porter presented a letter from Eugene clinical psychologist Norvin R.Cooley stating that Scott was suffering ``situatial depression'' and loss of confidence. He predicted that she would regain her confidence if the state returned her children.
Scott agreed to undergo a further psychological evaluation before the August custody hearings, and the state will provide psychological examinations of children before returning them to the Scott home.
Carl Scott said he would like to gain custody of his biological children, who range in age from 3 to 16, but he said he did not know how he could take care of them. His work as a long-haul truck driver often takes him away from home, and he said he can barely afford payments on his truck.
``I'm barely surviving,'' he said.