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$1.87M settlement in Marysville daycare abuse case

The Washington Department of Early Learning agreed to pay four families $1.87 million to settle a lawsuit they filed after Dakota Wilson was convicted of sexually abusing three children enrolled at his mother’s 24-hour, home-based daycare.

The mother of one of four children molested at a Marysville daycare says a record-setting settlement will help get her daughter the help that she needs.

“It’s been very tough. It’s been a roller coaster,” said Sarah – who asked that we not use her last name to protect her daughter’s privacy.

Sarah’s daughter was 11 years old in 2011 when she told Sarah that a teenage boy molested her. The boy in question was the son of the owner of All Hours Daycare, and Sarah’s daughter was molested after she dropped her daughter off before she went to work a night shift.

“She didn’t want to tell me, but she ended up telling me that Dakota was touching her butt,” Sarah said. “I was crying. She was crying.”

Earlier this month, the Washington Department of Early Learning (DEL) agreed to pay four families $1.87 million to settle a lawsuit they filed after Dakota Wilson was convicted of sexually abusing three children enrolled at his mother’s 24-hour, home-based daycare.

Related: State failed to screen Marysville day care provider, suit claims

DEL is the Washington agency that inspects and licenses child care centers and providers.

Sarah’s family will receive $500,000 of the settlement, money that she says could go toward college or additional counseling for her now 16-year-old daughter.

“My daughter doesn’t want to wear shorts. She doesn’t want people to see her skin. She’s very private, and that’s all because of what happened,” Sarah said.

The KING 5 Investigators exposed problems at the home daycare owned by Anne Ladale Moore in 2011. Her businesses earned $250,000 that year from a state program that covers child care costs for low-income parents. Moore’s daycare had a higher than average number of complaints.

After the original story, DEL revealed that parents had come forward alleging that Dakota Wilson molested their children during daycare’s nighttime hours.

Records reviewed by KING 5 in 2011 showed that Moore’s son had been accused of molesting children at three daycares that she owned previously in Idaho. Darrell Cochran, the attorney for some family members, said DEL missed that critical information in a background check before it gave Moore a license.

Cochran says DEL had other warnings about Moore’s daycare, “including from the Navy in Everett who said ‘Be careful about this daycare, because we’ve had some experience with them, and there are red flags all around.’”

DEL director Ross Hunter says the settlement is not an admission that the department made mistakes.

“We thought the risk of coming to a settlement was less than the risk of going to trial,” Hunter said.

Hunter maintains that Idaho did not provide information when asked about Moore’s history in that state. He says the information that her son was accused of molesting children in Idaho only came to light after Dakota Wilson was charged.

In 2011, Idaho regulators would not respond to KING 5’s questions about the handling of Moore’s licensing and complaint information.

Hunter says newer federal laws now allow states to conduct enhanced background checks of daycare operators who move to Washington from other states.

“The federal government has enabled us to get much deeper background check information from other states,” Hunter said.

-- Follow Chris Ingalls on Twitter @CJIngalls.

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