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Pre-2008 Posts

Why Single Men Should Not Be Permitted to be Foster Parents

Rapist and Abuser of Three Little Girls

The 55-year-old man pictured above was hauled out of a conservative Christian church nearby about a week ago on charges he had raped and sexually abused his three daughters, one adopted daughter and two foster daughters, over seven years.  Police found child pornography and videos of Enrique Fabregas raping and assaulting the girls, the oldest beginning when she was 12.  He adopted the youngest child, now 12, when she was a baby, after having dated her mother when they were both in drug treatment.  He gained access to the two older girls by dating their mother, and became their "foster parent" when their mother was sent to prison. 

Along with raping and sexually assaulting the girls, he urged them to shoplift and congratulated them when they got away with it.  If they got caught or acted out or complained, he would call the police and report them as a "concerned parent." 

Over the years, child protective authorities received 28 complaints about Fabregas, eight of them complaints that he was sexually abusing the girls, but all were dismissed as "unfounded."  And why?  Because his daughters sometimes recanted.  He had threatened them, had warned them that he had once killed someone who told on him and was never caught for it, told the oldest he would no longer supply her with the cocaine and ecstasy he had forced on her beginning at age 12 and to which she had become addicted.  Because he was a church-going man, involved in choir and community programs like "Big Brothers."  Because he had a sheaf of testimonials as to his character and fine parenting skills, probably written by the same people who testified for him in the late '90s when he wanted to get a license for foster care, despite having a criminal history of drugs, assault, theft and weapons violations which spanned 20 years.  As a result of these glowing testimonials, judges in two counties adjudged Fabregas rehabilitated and approved him as both a foster and adoptive parent.  When the oldest daughter contacted a police deputy, at first the deputy did not believe the girl and believed Fabregas, who chalked the reports up to the girls' mothers, making "false reports" about him.

His scheme began to unravel when state officials finally took note of the many complaints against him and asked him to undergo a sexual deviancy evaluation, and he refused.  The two foster daughters were then removed from his home, but not the youngest girl, whom he had adopted.

Finally a detective involved in the case believed the oldest girl and Fabregas was arrested and his home searched.  When he was interviewed at the police station and presented with photographs in which he was clearly raping and abusing one of his daughters, he first claimed she was 18 when the picture was taken, (so it was okay, I suppose), then claimed she had drugged him unconscious and must have taken the photo without his knowledge, then claimed the photo could not have been of him because he was impotent (despite a mountain of photographic evidenced that he wasn't), and finally claimed to have taken the photos as part of a Drug Enforcement Agency investigation, which detectives quickly debunked.  When he was arrested, he was making plans to leave the country. 

Given what we know as a culture, that 1 in 3 to 1 in 4 girls will be sexually assaulted by the time they are 17, and given what we know as women — that the number is far, far higher than that, that it is likely that over half of all girls are sexually assaulted by men and boys before they are 17 — I don't believe it is right to place girl children in the care of single men, not as foster providers, not as adoptive parents.  We all know, however great the effort to find exceptions, that by and large women do not sexually assault their daughters, either their biological daughters, their adopted daughters or their foster daughters.  While they may abuse their daughters in other ways, men also abuse their daughters in other ways.  And while it may be true that girls may be sexually violated when there is a woman in the home, at least there is less opportunity and some likelihood that the asshole will get caught.  At the very least we can work much harder to spare this vulnerable population the horrors of sexual abuse at the hands of a male "care-giver" by rejecting single men as adoptive or foster parents to girl children.

News articles about this can be found here, here, here and here




5 thoughts on “Why Single Men Should Not Be Permitted to be Foster Parents

  1. Oh my god! As a former social worker, I cannot believe this and yet I can. These guys are so slick and since government policy is all about not discriminating, one’s suspicions carry no weight. While it is well known in the field that foster dads are very vulnerable to false allegations, I cannot believe that a social worker would place girls with a man. However, on the other hand having had a born again Christian woman as a supervisor for a couple years, I can believe it. She could not see a positive connection between foster parent and child, other than one that had this religious overlay. No wonder my career hit the skids. But this just brings up all the rage I felt when I fought with her over kids and their placements. I left and she was promoted. Go figure.

    Posted by rhondda | June 14, 2006, 10:52 pm
  2. This just reinforces to me the need to stop relying on the state to “save” us from violence and start heavy grassroots work in our communities–I know, heart, that we disagree on seperatism, and in this case, I am thinking that a seperatist answer to this problem would be to not allow men to adopt girls.

    I see your point, and as the state of affairs exists today, that would be a quick solution to this problem. But I believe that sexual abuse in the system of child welfare exists at its roots because the state is the defacto beneficiary of the product of a woman’s body–and when has the state ever proven itself to care much about the women’s work of taking care of children? If the state doesn’t fuck it up by placing girls in a man’s care, the state will fuck it up some other way.

    I think the solution should be to stop allow the state to be a defacto parent to our children. We need to find a way to return to the days when parents died/were jailed/went to school/etc and the child went to live with a trusted neighbor. Granted the abuse existed then as well, but If we do grassroots work on empowering the community to have a community response to this violence (which could mean anything from eliminating the nuclear family living construct that prevents the community from monitoring a situation, to creating rotating groups of women who respond to calls for help rather than the state), i think that we would be quite a few steps closer to eliminating sexual abuse, you know?

    Either way, this case is disgusting…it made me sick reading about it.

    Posted by brownfemipower | June 15, 2006, 7:12 pm
  3. If the state doesn’t fuck it up by placing girls in a man’s care, the state will fuck it up some other way. I think the solution should be to stop allow the state to be a defacto parent to our children. We need to find a way to return to the days when parents died/were jailed/went to school/etc and the child went to live with a trusted neighbor.

    I totally agree with everything you say here, bfp. I don't know– it's not really possible to practice the kind of separatism that would prevent this kind of horror, not in the world as it is now. My first thought was, "Get these girls away from the men!" But you are so right– that's a bandaid solution. The real answer really IS grass roots activism and returning the care of children to those who actually DO and will care for them. I love the idea of rotating groups of women responding to calls for help! What a great idea. Because the state is so often an enemy to parents, and too often, it is more a threat to good parents than to horrific ones, like this guy.

    I feel the same way about battered women's shelters which take money from the state or from religious organizations. They are not safe places for women and children! They were in the beginning, when they were grassroots, mostly volunteer and run by women, most of them survivors of battering. Now that they are regulated by the state and the church, they can be just the place a battered woman should NOT turn to.

    Thanks for that really provocative and insightful post. I just think you are so right.


    Posted by womensspace | June 15, 2006, 7:28 pm
  4. This is an extremely, extremely challenging subject for me. Although I must say that I am tragically aware that the sex abuse statistics are more than likely much, much higher than officially reported, I disagree with your assertion that single men should not be allotted foster/adoptive privelege. Why?

    Feminism, to me, is an objective examination of formity verses societal confomity when it comes to gender. Actually, I’ve come to question that there is a such thing as sexual “formity” when it comes to the emotional/intellectual/behavioral aspects of human action. I don’t think that the sexes are innately different, personality-wise … and thus I don’t think it’s possible to categorize all men(as a class) as inherently more prone to sexual deviency than women(as a class). It isn’t, for lack of a better word, ‘right’. For one thing, allotting that men as a class are more likely to sexually abuse a child simply because they’re men gives opportunity for similarly rash generalization of the penchances and abilities of women as a class. I don’t want to risk that. Also, to allow such a generalization about men – that they are simply more prone to sexually abuse a child than women- is, in essence, to give excuse to the men who have sexually abused kids. After all, they are men – and male lust is utterly and innately uncontrollable. Look at all the other men who’ve done it! Isn’t it possible that this is just the way men are? I’d like to say no. There’s no excuse and male sexuality is not an uncontrollable force to which men are completely subject.

    Your concern is completely justified – as is your rage(!!!!!). Cutting single men out of child care is simply not the way to solve the problem. In my opinion, it would just perpetuate the idea that rapists and abusers are just being men – dominant, lustful, power-hungry. That’s not furthering our cause at all.

    Posted by Cristy | July 10, 2006, 1:58 am
  5. As someone who has been researching foster care and someone who is a single 40 year old man, I can see the concern. What’s just as sad is how many of these sick people do the same things to their own flesh and blood. I don’t know many who want to be single adoptive parents but we can’t wait forever for a partner who might not exist. So I’ll have to say that from my biased and selfish perspective, I will disagree with the title. Very good points by all though.

    Posted by Jeff Johnson | June 26, 2008, 2:07 am

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