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State Claims Sex Abuse by O.C. Foster Parents : Children: Garden Grove couple lose license after numerous charges of illicit activities. They deny all.

July 07, 1993|DAN WEIKEL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

GARDEN GROVE — State authorities on Tuesday revoked the foster care license of a Garden Grove couple who stood accused of turning their home into a hostel of sexual abuse where children were used for pornographic movies and encouraged to engage in sexual acts.

In a formal agreement with the state Department of Social Services, James and Carol Fox were stripped of their foster care license after numerous charges of sexual abuse and providing illegal care were lodged against them.

Among other things, James Fox was accused of taking and exhibiting nude and pornographic photographs of foster children, letting his son have sexual relations with a child, encouraging foster children to become prostitutes, and fondling at least two of the girls under his care. Five children in all were involved.

"Most licensed foster family homes in California provide supportive environments for children," said Eloise Anderson, director of the Social Services Department. "However, when we find licensees are not providing suitable, safe care, we must protect these vulnerable children by taking legal steps to revoke the license."

James Fox declined to comment on charges, except to say that "the allegations were false." He said he had no idea why his wards would accuse him of such heinous acts. The couple's attorney, Benjamin F. Card, declined to discuss the revocation proceedings, which lasted several months and were formally announced Tuesday by the state.

The case was brought by the state Department of Social Services, which is responsible for licensing foster care homes and monitoring foster care across the state. The agency received a complaint about the Foxes' facility at 13351 Greentree Ave. in December, 1992.

State authorities said they cannot release details about the source of the complaint or information about the victims.

According to the state's case, James Fox allegedly abused five female minors who had been under his care since December, 1990. Attorneys for the Social Services Department say he showed most of the girls sexually explicit films and then asked them to pose nude for his own pornographic movies.

In addition, case records show that he provided alcoholic beverages to some of the children and watched one of them take showers through a bathroom window. Fox allegedly encouraged several of the girls to become prostitutes, solicited another child to have sex with him and fondled two of the children.

The state further alleged that the Foxes' own son "inappropriately had sexual relations" with one of the girls under the family's care.

Attorneys for the Social Services Department also charged that the Foxes illegally operated their home without a license for some time and provided care for five children when, in fact, they were licensed to care for only one child.

"Their actions were totally inappropriate and went on over a long period of time," said Liz Brady, a spokeswoman for the Department of Social Services. "It is hard to believe people do these kinds of things when they pledge to give the children a supportive background."

Brady said the agency does not customarily refer such allegations of child abuse to police, but was unsure what had been done in this particular case.

Garden Grove police said Tuesday they were unaware of the state's action, and that no arrests had been made in connection with the matter. The police would not confirm if an investigation that might lead to arrests was underway.

Foster family homes provide residential care for young people from infancy to age 18. More than 14,200 of them are licensed in California and provide care for about 33,400 children. In Orange County there are 268 foster homes, which house 1,975 youths, according to the Department of Social Services.

"There is a very tiny percentage of this number where licenses have to be revoked," Brady said. "The case in Garden Grove is a rare instance statewide. The vast majority of foster homes provide outstanding care."

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