By Senators Roach, Strannigan, Stevens, Prentice, Heavey, Kline, Zarelli, Patterson, Finkbeiner, Long, Hochstatter, Schow, McCaslin, Oke, Benton, Hargrove, Prince, Swecker, T. Sheldon, Morton, Rossi, Franklin, Jacobsen, West and Johnson
WHEREAS, Appellate courts have remanded or overturned the convictions of persons convicted of sexual abuse of their children in Wenatchee; and
WHEREAS, Appellate courts have indicated that Child Protective Services and law enforcement officials might have conducted flawed child sex abuse investigations; and
WHEREAS, Media investigations of the alleged child sex abuse cases indicate that there were possible violations of basic fairness and due process to both parents and children in the conduct of the Wenatchee cases; and
WHEREAS, There are allegations of coerced confessions of persons who were frightened and scared of long prison terms and the potential loss of their children; and
WHEREAS, Many of the individuals conducting the investigation of sexual abuse for state and local agencies were not properly trained to conduct such investigations; and
WHEREAS, There are at least seventeen children whose parents have had their parental rights terminated and there are twenty-one more children still in foster homes or in state custody; and
WHEREAS, There are media reports that the Department of Social and Health Services might still be in the process of continuing with proceedings to terminate parental rights and finalize adoptions in which legal rights might have been seriously violated; and
WHEREAS, The State of Washington has a duty to ensure fairness in such vital and critical proceedings where the rights of birth parents and adoptive parents may be negatively affected;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, That the Senate urge the Department of Social and Health Services to suspend any final termination of parental rights or final adoptions of children from families who were convicted as part of the Wenatchee child sex abuse investigations until many serious issues surrounding these cases can be resolved.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That copies of this resolution be immediately transmitted by the Secretary of the Senate to Lyle Quasim, Secretary of Social and Health Services.
I, Mike O=Connell, Secretary of the Senate,
do hereby certify that this is a true and
correct copy of Senate Resolution 1998-8734,
adopted by the Senate March 12, 1998.
Secretary of the Senate