Mother sues over alleged abuse

The mother of a 10-year-old boy who was allegedly sexually molested by two older boys at a Nipomo foster home has sued, on his behalf, the home and the two counties that sent the three boys to the ranch.

A Santa Maria woman identified in court documents only as Tammy G. is suing Solid Rock Ranch, where the alleged serial molestation occurred, as well as San Luis Obispo County, which sent the older boys to the home, and Santa Barbara County, which sent the younger boy there.

Tammy G. says the foster home failed to protect her child, who was then age 8, and the two counties placed him in danger.

The alleged acts occurred in April and May of 2007, and the case has been dragging through the courts. A case management conference is scheduled Jan. 21 in San Luis Obispo Superior Court.

Tammy G. is seeking unspecified damages. The defendants — Solid Rock and the two counties — have denied culpability.

According to court documents, Santa Barbara County removed the child from Tammy G.’s custody in 2006 and eventually sent him to the 25-acre Solid Rock Ranch.

He is back in her custody now and undergoing counseling. But Tammy G.’s attorney, David Olan, says his future is uncertain because of what happened to him.

“When you’re a child like that, you’re supposed to trust people,” he told The Tribune in a telephone interview.

Representatives of Solid Rock Ranch did not respond to requests for comment from The Tribune.

The ranch’s Web site, which advertises itself as a Christian camp for abused, neglected and homeless children between the ages of 6 and 17, states, “We want to reach the innocent victims of child abuse and give each child a chance at life.”

It also states the camp does not accept “children that have a history of extreme behavior problems.”

However, the lawsuit alleges the two older boys, who were then 13 and 14, had a history of “aggressive sexual and violent behavior” and the ranch’s owners “knew or should have known” about it.

According to police reports, they allegedly forced the younger boy into sexual acts, including masturbation and oral copulation, over a period of several weeks.

The offenses took place in a barn, in different rooms in the house, in a ditch and once as they sat in the back of a van on its way to church, police reports say.

The boy told Mark Rohde, facilities manager for Solid Rock, about the abuse. Rohde called in social workers Jenna Gough and Erica Perez of the Family Care Network, according to court documents. They interviewed the child and called authorities.

The two older boys were removed from the home. Because they are juveniles, their court records are sealed.