Former foster parent sentenced for serial sexual abuse of children
A former foster parent was sentenced on Wednesday in Fort Smith to life in federal prison for sexually assaulting minors.
U.S. District Judge P.K. Holmes called the defendant Clarence “Charlie” Garretson’s repeated sexual abuse and rape of children in his home “the most horrific criminal conduct I’ve seen in regards to child exploitation.”
Holmes also noted the “extreme failure on the part of the [Arkansas] Department of Human Services in this case.” DHS, the state agency responsible for child welfare and foster care in Arkansas, licensed Garretson and his wife, Lisa, as foster parents from 1998 to approximately 2004. The state placed some 35 children in the household over that time period. Holmes said the presentencing report — which is sealed by court order — provides evidence that 14* of those children were abused by Garretson.
“When you look back on it, you wonder how it could ever have happened — but it did,” the judge said Wednesday to a Fort Smith courtroom filled with victims, their families and the family of the defendant, including Lisa Garretson.
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