Child-porn suspect had worked in day care

OLYMPIA — A Pierce County man accused of photographing dozens of sex acts with eight of his foster children worked at a child-care center for 10 years before opening a foster home, according to state records released yesterday.

Pierce County sheriff's detectives who arrested 41-year-old Ronald H. Young last month checked for other potential victims from the Kitsap Peninsula-area child-care center where Young worked in the 1980s but found no allegations.

Nor did they find complaints stemming from Young's work as a youth soccer coach in the early 1990s, said Sheriff's Detective Ed Troyer.

"If anything happened in that day care, no one reported it," Troyer said. "It's obviously a concern with his background. There's nothing to link him to other crimes."

Sexual-deviance experts say child molesters rarely start offending in midlife, but Young's foster-care licensing file, released yesterday under a public-records request, offers no hint of prior deviance.

He has been charged with 44 counts of sexual assault stemming from digital photographs found on his home computer. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Young, however, did lie on the foster-care application. Asked if anyone in his family had ever committed physical or sexual abuse, Young said no. His father, Harold Young, was convicted of child rape in 1989.

The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), which licenses foster parents, did not learn of the lie until after Young's arrest last month.

That's because the agency has no authority to run criminal-background checks of extended family unless state licensers are told the family members will frequently visit the foster home, said Paula Bentz, DSHS' head of foster-care licensing.

"He lied," Bentz said. "I don't know what else we could have done. We can't be overly intrusive."

DSHS staff did try to check Young's history with the child-care center, but found the facility's records had been destroyed, according to Bentz. Except for the lie, Young appeared to be a model prospect as a foster parent. Background checks for criminal convictions and child-abuse complaints came up empty. Ronald and Wendy Young met while working at the child-care center, they said on their application. Ronald Young said he ran a child-care center and had a community-college degree in early-childhood education.

"Was drawn to the children with the most difficulty in behavior," Young wrote of his experience. "Worked with abused children with major temper tantrums which ended in hugs."

Four people who submitted character references for Young and his wife described the couple as a deeply religious, empathetic and committed couple who'd raised two nice sons.

"I believe they would be a very strong influence on any child or children," according to one friend, whose name was blacked out on the records. "No reservations — lucky children!" said another reference.

Young's wife has not been charged, and detectives believe she was unaware of her husband's pornographic photos, which were discovered by Internet cyber-porn watchdogs. Young is being held in Pierce County Jail pending trial.

Jonathan Martin: 206-464-2605 or

Nguyen Huy Vu contributed to this report.