Victims to file civil suit

DALLAS — Salem-based Gatti Law Firm, which is representing five alleged victims of Quinlyn Harden, sent a tort claim notice to state and law enforcement agencies on July 3.

Harden, 24, is accused of abusing children at a Stinky Feet Childcare in Independence. The day care is owned by his mother, Ceola Harden.

According to the document, a claim will be made against the State of Oregon, Oregon Department of Education, Oregon Department of Human Services and the Independence Police Department for “damages arising from the State’s actions/inactions related to its regulation and oversite” of Stinky Feet Daycare and Preschool.” The law firm also sent notice to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

“(The claim) will be filed after the prosecution of Harden has been completed,” said Chris Best, of Gatti Law Firm.

The notice says since 2012, the state agencies “had knowledge Stinky Feet allowed Quinlyn Harden, a person known to it as having perpetuated abuse against minors, substitute and care for the minor enrollees of Stinky Feet.”

In the correspondence, the minors are identified by their initials.

“Upon receiving assurances of its intent to protect the confidentiality of the minors providing this notice, my office will provide their full identity to allow the state to investigate the minor’s claims as detailed herein,” Best said in the notice. “We’re still investigating the case. There were allegations made in the past, which for whatever reason did not lead to a prosecution.”

Harden pleaded not guilty to one count of first-degree sodomy and seven counts of first-degree sex abuse.

He has been in custody at the Polk County Jail since March 16.

One of the indictments says the crimes took place between January 2008 and December 2012.

On May 25, the Oregon Office of Child Care revoked Ceola Harden’s license after an investigation into whether she allowed her son to watch children in her charge without supervision.

The final order stated Ceola Harden had been told of allegations that Quinlyn had behaved inappropriately with a child at the day care, but didn’t report it.

Before the decision, Ceola Harden’s license had been suspended since January. Officials with OCC said Ceola Harden has been removed from the Central Background Registry, which means she can no longer provide child care.

Quinlyn Harden’s next court date is scheduled for Aug. 2.

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