SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The representatives of three children who attended a Polk County day care are suing multiple people and state agencies over sexual abuse for $5.1 million.
The children attended the now-closed Stinky Feet Childcare in Independence owned by Ceola Harden, the Statesman Journal reported.
Ceola Harden’s 27-year-old son, Quinlyn Harden, was convicted of raping and sexually abusing five children at the day care and sentenced to 54 years in prison after a jury trial last year.
The lawsuit filed this week accuses the state agencies involved in the regulation of child care facilities and investigations into child abuse of negligence for failing to investigate sexual abuse reports involving Quinlyn Harden and failing to ensure he didn’t have access to children at the day care.
Officials with the Oregon Department of Education and Oregon Department of Human Services declined to comment on the the lawsuit, citing the pending litigation.
The lawsuit lists three minors, one of whom Quinlyn Harden was convicted of abusing.
In 2018, a girl who attended the day care reported that she had been sexually abused by Harden. Her disclosure eventually led to Harden’s arrest and the discovery of at least four more victims who attended the day care, police said.
A revocation order issued by the Office of Child Care stated Ceola Harden let her son have unfettered access to children. She also failed to report suspected abuse to the Department of Human Services, according to a complaint filed with the office.
Registered childcare providers are considered mandatory reporters and are legally required to report suspected abuse.
Quinlyn Harden insisted on his innocence throughout his trial.