DALLAS — No criminal charges were filed, but some employees in the Dallas office of Department of Human Services said they believe the teen who accused two DHS workers of having sex in the same room as him, according to Oregon State Police records.
The Department of Justice released redacted OSP reports of the investigation last week, including interviews with the accused employees, Mark Walsh and Kate Guy. OSP detective Casi Hegney-Bach submitted the evidence on possible charges of first-degree official misconduct and endangering the welfare of a minor to DOJ for review in January.
Following the investigation, Salem attorney David L. Kramer sent notice that he intends to file a lawsuit against the state on behalf of the boy, now his client.
The OSP report said that on Nov. 28, 2018, the 14-year-old boy’s case worker Jacklyn (Nix) Trujillo visited the boy in Yamhill County Juvenile Detention Center, where he was placed after staying in a room in the Best Western Hotel in Dallas with Walsh and Guy.
According to the report, he told Trujillo that he awoke on the night of Nov. 20, 2018, to the Guy and Walsh “doing stuff” in the bed next to his between 1 and 2 a.m. Trujillo asked the boy if he meant they were having sex and he said yes. Trujillo immediately reported the disclosure to her supervisor, and Guy and Walsh were placed on paid home duty two days later, according to DHS records.
Trujillo later told investigators that she believed the boy’s account, according to the reports.
“She told me she was not surprised when (the boy) told her, and she believes (he) is telling the truth,” the report read.
According to OSP’s interview with Walsh, who is a team supervisor at the Dallas office, he said he responded to an incident involving the boy and attempted to get Salem Police to arrest the teen and take him to jail.
“He told me police refused to arrest (the boy) and DHS could not find immediate placement,” Hegney-Bach wrote in a summary of the interview. “He told me he ended up having to take custody of (him).”
Walsh said after having to take the boy to a hotel, he sent out a group text to his team for assistance.
“He told me none of the people on his team were available, so he called Kate Guy,” Hegney-Bach wrote.
Walsh told Hegney-Bach that he spent much of the night trying to calm the boy down. At close to 2 a.m., Walsh said he turned the TV off and told the boy it was time for bed. He said Guy, who arrived between 11:30 p.m. and midnight, was asleep at that point.
She woke up at 5 a.m. and Walsh then fell asleep until 7 a.m., Walsh told police.
“Walsh told me nothing sexual happened between him and Guy,” Hegney-Bach wrote. “He told me nothing happened that could be misconstrued as sexual.”
In her interview with police, Guy also denied the allegations the boy made.
“Guy stated she has only done an emergency overnight one other time, and it was for a juvenile at the hospital,” the report stated. “She told me DHS has been doing a lot of overnights in hotels lately, and everyone has been tirelessly working, and she thought she should help. She told me she was the last person on the call list.”
Guy told police said that she fell asleep as Walsh was talking to the boy. When she woke up, Walsh was sitting in a chair, she said. She got up and Walsh went to sleep in the bed at about 5 a.m.
She said she left that room at 7 a.m. The boy was still asleep, and Walsh was getting up, according to her interview with police.
Guy told police, based on her knowledge of the complaint, Trujillo “asked a series of leading questions,” of the boy to get his account of what happened that night.
Hegney-Bach reported that the boy was forensically interviewed at a child abuse intervention center in Albany following the incident. She told Guy that the boy “was interviewed by a child forensic interviewer and no one involved in the interview believes (the boy) was lying about what he saw on Nov. 20.”
“Guy told me she did not have sex in front of (the boy) that night,” the report said. “She said … she did not have sex with anyone that night in the hotel room. She told me it was frustrating that she was even there.”
Guy and Walsh refused to voluntarily submit their cellphones so police could review their communications. OSP subpoenaed their phones, but information from the devices was redacted from the report.
Chad Blackman, Guy’s supervisor, told police he thought the boy’s account is believable.
“I think when you start to add everything up, I do believe it,” the report said. “But this particular allegation is pretty credible to me.”
When asked why he thought the boy was being truthful, Blackman said, based on what he had been told by other workers in the office and witnessed himself, that he believed the pair were having an affair. He added that if the boy had said Walsh had been inappropriate toward him, he would be less inclined to believe him, according to the report.
Blackman told the detective that he texted Mark on Nov. 20 to relieve him, but “Mark sent a message back saying no, that he had it handled.”
Trujillo told police she also offered to assist that night but was told not to, according to documents from her interview. She was one of two employees that took reports of the affair rumors to supervisors at DHS.
Dallas office Program Manager Stacy Daeschner said she looked into both complaints and couldn’t substantiate them, according to the report.
Arthur Warren, a social service specialist in the office, said he didn’t believe the pair were having an affair. Warren shared a hotel room with Walsh on a work summit in April 2018 that was the subject of one of the complaints. Other employees said that Walsh and Guy had shared a room on the trip.
Walsh stayed in a separate bedroom in the room, but Warren told police he was certain no one was in the room with Walsh. He wrote an email to Daeschner offering to sign a statement.
In their interviews with police, both Walsh and Guy denied they were having an affair.
Guy described her relationship with Walsh as friends and colleagues. She told police she worked closely with Walsh because she is a paralegal and the last few tort claims DHS received involved Walsh’s team at the office.
Walsh said he was aware of one accusation made by a former DHS employee.
“He told me (the employee) stopped showing up for work and wrote a letter on the day she was terminated, and in the letter accused him and Kate of having an affair,” the report said.
On Feb. 14, Daeschner was notified that she would be placed on home duty.
“Effective immediately, you will be duty stationed with pay at your residence pending the outcome of an investigation into concerns of your conduct in the workplace,” read a letter from Rebecca Daniels, DHS employee and Labor Relations Manager.
On March 15, Senior Assistant Attorney General Kurt W. Miller informed Polk County District Attorney Aaron Felton that the department would not be pursuing criminal charges. DOJ and OSP conducted the investigation at Felton’s request.
Miller said he researched criminal charges, including endangering the welfare of a minor, private indecency and first-degree official misconduct. He said the DOJ’s Criminal Justice Division reviewed the investigation and his legal analysis.
“We determined that there is insufficient evidence to prove criminal charges beyond a reasonable doubt,” Miller wrote. “We are closing out the file in this matter.”
On March 22, Kramer sent a tort claim notice to the state, saying the boy was involuntarily held at the hotel on Nov. 20-21. The notice of litigation claimed what happened violated a settlement agreement in a case that ensured “that all foster children and young adults in Oregon are placed appropriately.”
Kramer said DHS’ actions that night violated his client’s 14th Amendment freedom from unlawful restraint; Fifth Amendment right to due process; and right to be free from false imprisonment.
“Mr. Walsh placed my client in the hotel so that he could secretly use the hotel room for a sexual liaison with another DHS employee,” the tort claim read. “Mr. Walsh and Ms. Guy arranged to meet in my client’s room after my client fell asleep.”
Kramer claimed that Walsh “verbally threatened my client and ordered him to not tell anyone what had happened.”
“The following day, as a means to further intimidate my client and keep (him) quiet, DHS caused my client to be placed in a juvenile detention facility, despite the fact that (he) had committed no new offense that would warrant further incarceration,” Kramer wrote. Kramer said he intended to bring claims for “economic, non-economic, and punitive damages that were caused by the foregoing misconduct.”