Detective: Child Protective Services worker lied in reports including sex abuse case

The Washington County Sheriff's Office says 34-year-old Miguel Fuentes, a Child Protective Services worker for DHS, falsified at least 15 child abuse reports, including one that became a felony sex abuse case.

The Washington County Sheriff's Office says a Child Protective Services worker for Oregon's Department of Human Services (DHS) falsified at least 15 child abuse reports.

A sheriff's office detective told KATU one of the falsified reports hindered a felony sex abuse case involving a 3-year-old girl.

The worker, Miguel Fuentes, 34, was arrested Thursday and is now on administrative leave from his position at the DHS office in Beaverton.

"It was laziness on his part not to go out and actually investigate those cases and contact the sheriff’s office," Sgt. Vance Stimler, a spokesman for the sheriff's office, told KATU. "These were willful decisions on his part not to go out and conduct these investigations."

Stimler and Detective Chuck Anderson told KATU the sheriff's office discovered problems with Fuentes's reports in September. That's when they said a family member of a 3-year-old girl called DHS to say they should further investigate a sex abuse case.

A DHS case worker then called the sheriff's office, Stimler said, and Anderson investigated.

"When he started looking into it, he discovered that Mr. Fuentes was assigned to that case at some point," Stimler said. "I think it was around June or July."

Stimler and Anderson said they discovered Fuentes's report was full of lies.

"Mr. Fuentes claimed that he came out and talked to the mom," Stimler said. "The mom said that the suspect wasn't there anymore, that it wasn't what it was reported to be and explained that away. What we learned later is that never actually took place. That conversation never took place. That's what Mr. Fuentes wrote in his report and determined to be unfounded."

Anderson said Fuentes also claimed he talked to the victim's siblings and a child care worker, which was not true.

After Anderson questioned him, he said the little girl's father confessed to the crime and he was arrested.

"Once we got involved," Stimler said, "we started looking into it a lot deeper."

And Stimler said the sheriff's office discovered Fuentes falsified reports in at least 15 child abuse cases.

"In one of the cases," Stimler said, "it was his day off that he claimed he went out and talked to one of the families about a possible domestic issue."

And Stimler said that didn't happen.

DHS sent KATU a statement saying in part:

When the Department placed this employee on administrative leave in November 2016, we immediately put an action plan in place to ensure the safety of the children and families that came into contact with this worker.

• A dedicated team from Salem and the local office launched a review of all cases this employee was involved in going back to 2011.

• All of his open child welfare cases were reviewed and reassigned.

• Staff at both the local and state level began and continue to work with the Washington County Sheriff’s office to assist in the criminal investigation.

On Thursday, Fuentes was arrested and released from the Washington County jail on his own recognizance.

A KATU reporter knocked on a door at an address listed for him Friday afternoon and no one answered. The reporter also left a note there and voice mails at multiple phone numbers under Fuentes's name. He did not immediately respond.

“There were several cases where law enforcement was involved and Mr. Fuentes did the right thing -- wrote the report, took the proper steps, so we know that he knows the correct procedures," said Stimler. “In some cases he made appointments to meet with (people) and never actually showed up but still wrote a report as though he did show up.”