WOMAN ASKS RETURN OF CHILDREN

Date: 1991-02-26

Author: GORDON OLIVER - of the Oregonian Staff

Sherry Scott asked the Washington County Juvenile Court on Monday to return 24 children who were taken from her Cornelius home by the state Children's Services Division on Feb. 15.

Scott had 28 children under age 18 in her home when CSD removed them for health and safety reasons. One has been returned to his legal parents, and Scott did not ask for three who are accused of aggressive sexual behavior pending the outcome of CSD's investigation.

Five of the children are the biological offspring of Sherry and Carl Scott. The others are adopted, under the Scotts' guardianship or under their temporary care. Many are mentally, emotionally or physically disabled. Carl Scott moved out of the home last fall but the couple remain legally married.

CSD removed the children because of concerns that the house had an inoperable septic system, clutter and rats, and allegations that the children were poorly supervised and had been exposed to sexual abuse.

In 24 separate affidavits filed in Juvenile Court, Scott said she believes her home is safe and that the children need her. She said the children's welfare would not be endangered by their return, and that toilet facilities are now adequate. The family has one portable toilet and can get more, she said.

She said that there is not and has never been a ``harmful degree of rodent infestation'' in the home, and that fire hazards have been removed.

Scott also said the house is not overcrowded, and that no more than two children sleep in any of the house's 19 bedrooms.

The 24 children named in the affidavits were not exposed to ongoing sexual abuse, Scott said. She said she was not aware of sexual abuse involving any children at the home and that she took ``suitable precautions'' to discourage and prevent inappropriate sexual activity.

``I understand that the sexual abuse charges must be thoroughly investigated,'' she said. ``Most of my children are not under such charges and I pray that the CSD and the court will very soon allow the rest of them to come back home.''

In a letter to CSD, 's lawyer, Charles O. Porter, raised some of the same issues in more detail and asked the agency to recommend that the court return the children to his client.

Gary Shurtz, CSD's branch manager in Washington County, said he had not seen the affidavits or the letter and could not comment.

He said he would need to meet with attorneys for the district attorney and attorneys representing the children before he could respond.

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