By Diana Hefley Herald Writer
MARYSVILLE — Two families are blaming the state for not protecting their children from a teenager who once was charged with child rape and molestation.
The children attended the All Hours Childcare in Marysville. The day care owner’s son, Dakota Wilson, then a juvenile, was accused of sexually assaulting the two young girls for years. He later pleaded guilty to lesser charges.
The girls’ families filed a lawsuit earlier this month in Snohomish County Superior Court, alleging that the state Department of Early Learning failed to properly investigate Anne LaDale Moore before issuing her a license in 2008 to operate a 24-hour home day care.
Her business was shut down in 2011.
There was a history of similar allegations against Wilson, court papers said. Those allegations arose in 2004 in Boise, Idaho, where his mother operated three day cares before moving to Marysville.
Wilson, then 11, was accused of sexually assaulting at least one child who attended one of Moore’s day cares. The allegations were investigated by Boise police and social workers, but no charges were ever filed.
Police there reported that they declined to investigate further because the alleged abuse was between children and didn’t involve an adult, according to records uncovered by the Snohomish County parents’ attorney.
There’s no indication that Washington state day care licensing officials were aware of the investigation in Idaho.
The girls’ parents believe that a more thorough investigation by the state would have uncovered the past allegations.
The lawsuit also alleges that the state failed to thoroughly investigate complaints of child neglect reported by other parents at the Marysville day care. The state found violations, including inadequate supervision, yet it failed to properly monitor the day care afterward, Tacoma attorney Darrell Cochran said.
Once these red flags came up, the state should have gone back and reviewed the operator’s track record, he said.
“The Department of Early Learning knows that moms out there are counting on it to license safe homes,” Cochran said. “We all know you can’t stop every bad thing from happening, but the state has to do something to at least keep the worst of the worst out of the day care business.”
Despite warning signs, Moore’s day care received about $230,000 in 2009 from the state as part of a childcare subsidy program for low-income families, Cochran wrote in court papers.
“We have received the complaint and are reviewing it with our clients to determine the next steps,” said Janelle Guthrie, a spokeswoman for the state Attorney General’s Office.
Moore also is named in the lawsuit. She is accused of failing to properly supervise and protect the children under her care. Despite her son’s history, she allowed him to be around the children without supervision, according to the lawsuit.
“This exposed the children at All Hours Childcare to the sexual abuse,” lawyers wrote.
In 2012, Wilson was ordered held in juvenile detention until his 21st birthday. On the eve of trial, Wilson, then 19, agreed to plead guilty to reduced charges.
Prosecutors faced trying him in three separate trials. It also appeared that jurors wouldn’t hear statements Wilson made to detectives, including his comments about controlling his sexual urges. Jurors also wouldn’t hear about the investigation in Idaho.
Wilson pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree assault and two counts of fourth-degree assault. He also pleaded guilty to third-degree assault in juvenile court.
He doesn’t have to register as a sex offender. He must undergo sexual deviancy treatment and is prohibited from being around children. Once he’s freed, Wilson be under the supervision of the state Department of Corrections for nearly six years. He is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463, firstname.lastname@example.org