The parents of a 16-month-old girl who was sexually molested by their day-care provider's 13-year-old son are "angry" and "sad" that he is being released after about 18 months in a local treatment center. The boy is going to live with his father in California.
Although the boy will be a registered sex offender, report to a parole officer and will continue to receive outpatient psychiatric treatment, the girl's parents are convinced the boy is still a danger to other children and should be locked up longer.
"Once a pedophile, always a pedophile," the girl's father said. "We're all scared for the children in California."
Their daughter required emergency surgery to repair her genitals after the assault, according to court records.
Her father said she may need more surgery and it's uncertain whether she will be able to bear children. The girl currently has good days and bad days but still needs twice-weekly therapy sessions and wakes up screaming with night terrors almost every night, her father said.
Her mother said the girl has been deeply hurt and is fearful of people she doesn't know. "The sweetest person can smile at her and she's buried in our arms," the mother said.
"Our main concern now is that this boy is going to be released, and we never want this to happen again to someone else," said the girl's mother. "He has changed our entire life. We have this invisible barrier around our children. We don't trust anybody. To see our daughter hurting now is so hard. I don't know when it's going to go away."
In a closed juvenile court hearing Wednesday, therapists who have been treating the boy said he has completed his treatment program here and would benefit from being supervised by his father, according to Carol Sisco, spokeswoman for the Utah Division of Child and Family Services. He must abide by a set of strict rules but will no longer live in a treatment facility.
The parents of the girl said the boy apologized at a previous court hearing. But they said the boy's mother — a day-care provider who left him alone with the girl — has shown no remorse.
However, the boy's mother said she has worked with Valley Mental Health to help her son and is grateful for the treatment he has received. She said she hopes the move to California will help her son progress psychologically but thinks "it will be hard on him."
As for the parents of the young girl, the boy's mother said they need to let the girl heal, get therapy themselves and let it go. "They need to go on and move on with their daughter," she said. She also suggested the girl's parents filed a civil case against her because "they're concerned about money."
The girl's parents said they do not blame 3rd District Juvenile Judge Robert S. Yeates for the boy's release. Instead, they fault the juvenile justice system for the way young sex offenders are treated — and they think the system needs reform.
"He should serve the same time anybody would serve. I know he's a juvenile by age, but when he was doing this he knew right from wrong, he knew this was wrong and he should be responsible for his actions," the girl's mother said.
"He'll get a ticket to a normal life and here's my little girl with her struggle," the girl's mother said.
The couple sued the boy's mother in November in civil court for general and punitive damages, and past and future medical expenses.
The boy's mother operated a licensed day-care facility in her West Valley home. Court documents state that on Aug. 4, 1999, the woman took another child to school and left the 16-month-old girl to be tended by her son with no adult supervision.
During that time, he sexually molested the girl, who suffered "severe and grievous injuries" during the attack and was bleeding from the genitals when the boy's mother arrived home, according to court records.
The girl's parents claim the day-care provider failed to provide adequate care for the child, was negligent in entrusting the little girl to her son and that she knew her son had sexually abused other children.
William Morrison, the girl's parents' attorney, said the civil case is still pending. The girl's father said that if any money is recovered, it will go into a trust fund for the girl.