This is just revolting. And not just because adoptive single dad (and teacher) GREGG LARSEN was able to get away with his child sexual abuse and pornography activities for so long. It's also revolting how many social service and court idiots perpetuated his reign of terror. So who are these people, who remain mostly nameless (and thus unaccountable) here?
1) The Hennepin County (Minnesota) social worker who ignored the adopted son's complaint about a "secret camera" planted in the bathroom in the family home. Of course, the "spokeswoman" for the county is now trying to spin this and claim there is no "record" of any complaint ever being filed. Yes, I suppose there wouldn't be if the boy was ignored, would there?
2) How about the employee at the St. Joseph Home for Children, who was also told by the son about the camera in the bathroom? No action here either.
2) And how about the completely moronic court-appointed Guardian ad litem (GAL), Julie Mueller? Even after perv daddy's home was raided by the FBI for child pornography and he was arrested, and even the child welfare people (finally) decided to terminate the perv daddy's parental rights (which NEVER should have been granted in the first place), what does the GAL do? She recommends supervised visits for the traumatized 10-year-old boy! Even though she also knew of perv daddy's "depression" and "chemical dependency" issues. And all about the sexual abuse allegations regarding a foster son in the home. So naturally, what does perv daddy do during these visits? Basically continue with the same head trips the sexual abusers are famous for. Minimizing/denying the impact of the criminal charges against him, and telling the child "it was all a mistake" and that he would be "coming home" soon. But who was judge who approved this GAL's recommendations?
3) And given that this man had a foster child in the home, why was he not monitored, given his admitted "depression" and "chemical dependency" issues? Better yet, why was he given a foster child at all, and why wasn't the child removed immediately once Daddy's "issues" became apparent?
You have two possibilities here, in my humble opinion. Either these "child protection" people are complete and total incompetents and idiots, in which case they should all be fired. Or they were ACTIVELY COLLUDING with a child pornographer and abuser, in which case they should all be fired and go to jail.
Son says Hennepin County ignored his claims of hidden camera in home
He says he reported it in 2007; father indicted in May on child-porn charges
By David Hanners
Updated: 06/12/2010 09:40:16 PM CDT
An adopted son of Minneapolis foster parent and accused child pornographer Gregg Larsen says he told a Hennepin County social worker in 2007 that Larsen had a secret camera in the bathroom of his home but says his claim was never investigated.
When federal agents searched Larsen's home last year, they found evidence he had filmed young boys — including his two adopted sons and their friends — while they were in the bathroom, according to court records and the oldest of those sons, Pierre Ramone Larsen.
"It was frustrating not having anyone listen to me," Pierre, 21, said in an interview. "I don't know if they weren't listening because I was a bad kid with a juvenile record or they thought I wanted to get back at him. Or maybe it was just something they didn't want to hear."
A spokeswoman for the county questioned the son's claim, saying social workers are required by law to report suspicions of abuse, and no such report was ever filed involving Larsen.
"Any of our people, if they would've heard something like this and got a report, would've filed something with child protection," said the spokeswoman, LuAnn Schmaus. "If they had talked with a child who indicated something was occurring, they are mandated by law to report to child protection, and child protection would have a record of the alleged event. There was no record."
The elder Larsen, who was a teacher at St. Paul's Central High School, was indicted May 19 on federal child pornography charges. Two of the four counts accuse him of producing child pornography in the spring and summer of 2006.
The FBI raided his Minneapolis home last July after an agent working undercover supposedly accessed pornographic photo and video files Larsen shared online. Among the items agents found in the home were images of children apparently taken with a camera hidden in Larsen's bathroom.
Larsen is in custody while he awaits a criminal trial. His next court hearing is June 28. His attorney, Joseph Tamburino, declined to comment for this article.
At the time of the raid, another of Larsen's adopted sons, now 10, was living in the home, along with a 9-year-old foster child. Both were taken from the home, and Hennepin County child-welfare officials went to court to terminate Larsen's parental rights.
Despite that, the child's court-appointed guardian ad litem continued to recommend that Larsen have regular, albeit supervised, visits with the boy, according to court records.
Those recommendations continued until March 19, when the guardian ad litem concluded that when Larsen spent time with his son, he "continues to minimize the impact" of the impending federal charges and "continues to reinforce (the child's) belief that everything is a mistake and that (the child) will soon be coming home."
The guardian ad litem, Julie Mueller, wrote in her report that she "recognizes the bond between parent and child but feels she has no choice but to recommend immediate cessation of supervised visits with father as being in (the child's) best interest."
The guardian ad litem office did not return calls for comment for this article.
BATHROOM VIEW ON THE TV
Pierre Larsen claims at least one child-welfare worker knew as far back as 2007 that the man who had adopted him may have been filming children in his home's bathroom. He said in an interview that he discovered the camera in 2005 and told a social worker about it two years later — and also told the FBI about it when they questioned him about his father last year and again earlier this year.
Pierre Larsen was interviewed at the state prison in St. Cloud, where he is serving the final days of a 34-month sentence for stealing a truck in Minneapolis in 2007. He is scheduled for release July 19.
He claimed that one day in 2005, he skipped school and stayed home to watch lesbian pornography that his father kept locked in his bedroom closet.
Pierre said that when he turned on the television in his dad's bedroom, "I got the bathroom right away."
He said he figured there must be a camera in the bathroom.
"I looked at it for a couple of seconds and went in the bathroom and did a full 360-degree turn, and I couldn't find it," he said of the camera.
Wondering if the view was "live," he opened the shower curtain and went back to look at the TV screen. The shower curtain was now open on it, too.
"I kind of got freaked out," he said.
He said he questioned his father about it that evening as Larsen was preparing dinner.
"He told me it was because he didn't want me to take no pills or hurt myself," Pierre said, adding that although he had used marijuana as a juvenile, he had no history of taking pills or self-abuse.
"I never asked him about it again," he said.
SAYS HE REPORTED CAMERA
Pierre came from a physically abusive home and was separated from a brother and sister when he entered the foster-care system at age 9. He said that when Larsen adopted him, he gave Pierre his first stable home.
"He was OK. He wasn't a bad parent," Pierre said. "He was kind of controlling. I didn't have as much privacy as most teenagers have."
Pierre said he rebelled and had "a stealing problem." Minneapolis police reports show that between September 2001 and March 2005, he was reported as a runaway four times. Twice in 2004, Larsen called police to complain that Pierre had used his credit cards to buy items online, including pornography.
Pierre said he ran away again in 2007 in an attempt to find his biological mother in Nebraska. He decided to return to Minneapolis but changed his mind and instead went to Milwaukee, but Larsen bought him a plane ticket home.
Pierre claimed that when he returned, a social worker with the county spoke to him about running away. Pierre said he can't remember the man's name — only that he drove a Dodge Caravan — and said he believed the man was with the Children Services unit of the Hennepin County Human Services and Public Health Department.
"I kept on telling him I didn't want to go back," Pierre said. Eventually, he told the social worker about discovering the camera in the bathroom.
"He had me write it down on a lined piece of paper," Pierre said. "I signed it, he signed it, and that's the last I ever heard of it."
Pierre said he never went back to live with his father. He claims he told others about the camera, including a staff member at St. Joseph's Home for Children, a day and residential treatment facility operated by Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Rebecca Lentz, spokeswoman for the organization, said she couldn't comment on Pierre's claim because federal law prohibited her from confirming or denying whether someone was a client.
Pierre said he never saw any indication anyone looked into his allegation, so he eventually quit repeating it.
"I just gave up on trying to do something about it because no one's going to listen to me," he said. "It was a waste of stress. I buried it away, buried it in the past. But it was always there. You can't really leave something like that in the past."
COUNTY: YOUNGEST SON MAY HAVE BEEN ABUSED
The search warrant inventory from the July 1 search of Larsen's home showed that among items agents seized were a laptop computer, a VHS recorder, 20 VHS videos, 93 DVDs, four cameras, a video camera, a remote camera, six memory cards and two computer hard drives.
Another FBI affidavit says a "review of the electronic media reveals that at least one hidden camera was installed in a bathroom in the residence. One of these hidden cameras recorded images of children, including one prepubescent boy using the toilet facilities or changing clothes during which the genitals were exposed."
Pierre claimed an FBI agent showed him still photos from the bathroom camera to see if he could identify any of the people pictured. He said some of them were of himself when younger as well as Larsen's other adopted son and friends whom the two youths had invited over for sleepovers.
"When they'd spend the night, he (Larsen) would have them take a shower, and I wouldn't think anything of it. I just thought it was a 'clean' thing," Pierre said. He said some photos the FBI showed him were of children "getting out of the shower."
Supervisory Special Agent E.K. Wilson of the FBI's Minneapolis office confirmed that agents interviewed Pierre but said he couldn't comment on what he might have said.
Pierre said an FBI agent told him there were photos going back to 2000, a year after Larsen adopted him. That was also the year Larsen became a licensed foster parent with Hennepin County.
His license limited him to two children younger than 18, according to state records. Hennepin County officials said he had two children in the home in 2006, the year the indictment alleges he produced pornographic images.
Six days after Larsen's home was searched, Hennepin County filed a "Children in Need of Protection or Services" petition, saying that Larsen's youngest son may have been a victim of physical or sexual abuse or lived with a perpetrator of domestic child abuse.
A judge approved the petition, and the county moved to terminate Larsen's parental rights.
WILL TERMINATE PARENTAL RIGHTS
Mueller, of Hennepin County's Guardian ad Litem Program, was appointed to represent the child's interest. In the first two of three reports she wrote to the court, she recommended father and son adhere to a schedule of supervised weekly visits.
The first report, dated Dec. 1, noted Larsen was continuing "with medication for depression and treatment for chemical dependency."
That same day, Minneapolis police took a report from a staff member at CornerHouse, a nonprofit group that helps investigate suspected child abuse. The staffer told police a 9-year-old child at Larsen's address "may have been sexually abused," according to the report.
The guardian ad litem's second report, dated Jan. 22, again recommended weekly visits between Larsen and his son. She didn't change her recommendation until her third report, March 19 — more than eight months after the FBI raid and more than three months after the police report mentioned possible sexual abuse.
Larsen fought the move to terminate his parental rights, but in a May 7 letter to a federal prosecutor, Tamburino, Larsen's attorney, said the man was prepared to give up the child. A review hearing is scheduled for Wednesday before Hennepin County District Judge Tamara Garcia.
It is unclear when the county became aware Larsen allegedly suffered from depression and chemical dependency. With a foster child in the home, he was supposed to be subject to regular visits and monitoring.
After the FBI investigation began, Tamburino had Larsen examined by a forensic psychologist, who later wrote that Larsen had "needed immediate psychiatric intervention and chemical dependency treatment."
"To his credit, he did not oppose such interventions, and we were able to coordinate treatment for his severe depression and his alcoholism," the psychologist wrote of his patient.
RESIGNED AS ST. PAUL TEACHER
Larsen is originally from Michigan and studied history at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston; an online alumni newsletter lists him as being in the class of 1990-91. It also lists him as a curator for the Minnesota Historical Society.
The state historical society, citing privacy laws, declined to confirm Larsen had worked there.
St. Paul Public Schools hired him in March 2003. Most recently, he was a special-education teacher at Central High, and he served as faculty adviser for the school's film club and paintball club.
After school officials learned of the FBI raid, Larsen was placed on paid leave and taken out of the classroom. He resigned May 4.
In his May 7 letter to the prosecutor, Tamburino said Larsen was willing to plead guilty to a single count of possession of child pornography. In return, he planned to plead for a sentence less than the 10 years recommended by federal sentencing guidelines on that charge.
Twelve days later, Larsen was indicted on two counts of producing child pornography and one count each of distribution and possession. He could be sentenced to 90 years in prison.
Larsen has been jailed since his indictment. At a May 24 hearing in St. Paul, U.S. Magistrate Jeanne Graham refused to set bail, saying that although Larsen wasn't a flight risk, he remained a danger to the community.
David Hanners can be reached at 612-338-6516.