DHS manager disputes alleged sex abuser's claim

TABOR,MARK ALEXANDER

A man who allegedly sexually abused two girls under his care was neither approved by nor affiliated with Jackson County Child Protective Services, said Doug Mares, Department of Human Services district manager for Jackson and Josephine counties.

Mark Alexander Tabor, 23, is charged with one count each of first-, second- and third-degree sexual abuse for allegedly assaulting the sisters on Aug. 11.

Hours later, Tabor was himself allegedly attacked by Christopher Garrett, 19, and Moses LaPorte, 18, in retaliation for the suspected sexual assault, according to Medford police.

Medford attorney Tom Petersen told the Mail Tribune on Thursday that he represents the two teenage girls who say Tabor sexually molested them in their home on Aug. 11.

Petersen said the girls' mother, and one of the victims, told him that Tabor was in the home because DHS approved and cleared him to supervise visitation between the young teens and their father. The visitation was required because of an earlier incident of alleged domestic violence between his client's parents, which did not result in criminal charges. However, DHS ordered that the father's future visits with the girls must be supervised, Petersen said.

Mares said he could not comment about the victims or the family. But he denied Tabor was involved with DHS.

"We didn't authorize any visitation by Mr. Tabor," Mares said. "And he was certainly not an employee, or even any kind of a volunteer for DHS."

Petersen declined last week to comment on pending lawsuits except to say that if Tabor were approved by DHS, there would be "legal exposure." Petersen is on vacation until early September, according to the receptionist at his law offices. Petersen did not return messages from the Mail Tribune left on his voice mail.

Mares said Monday that DHS staff typically perform supervised visitations "in more extreme cases," which would include any situation where there are allegations of physical or sexual assault on a child.

However, if there is no more than a low level risk to the child, family members can suggest someone they trust to perform the volunteer supervisory duties, he said. In those instances, the supervising person's criminal record and child welfare record are checked, Mares said.

Petersen said Garrett was previously approved to be the supervisor for the father's visits. He said Tabor, who is known to the victims' mother, overheard Garrett explaining to the parent he would no longer able to perform that function as he was moving out of the area soon. Tabor volunteered himself for the supervisory position, he said.

"He inserted himself in the situation," Petersen said, adding Tabor had conducted "a couple visits with the children's father, and visited the house" prior to Saturday's alleged attack.

Petersen said Tabor abused the girls "in a violent manner" in their home. The attacks included forcible kissing, biting, fondling and digital penetration, he said.

Police say that LaPorte and Garrett, armed with a baton and wrench, drove Tabor to the remote Elderberry Flats campground, about 20 miles north of Rogue River, Saturday night, and beat him. Tabor was allegedly struck in the head with the baton before fleeing. Tabor managed to get a ride with someone, and was dropped off at a gas station in White City, where he called authorities, police said.

Tabor was taken to Rogue Regional Medical Center, where he was treated and released before being arrested by Medford police.

LaPorte and Garrett were arraigned on attempted murder and second- and third-degree assault charges Monday afternoon. They were being held on $750,000 bail each in the Jackson County Jail. Tabor is being held on $300,000 bail.

Court records show none of the three men have prior criminal histories in Oregon.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or e-mail sspecht@mailtribune.com.


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