Foster parent Steven Joseph Holland has been accused of sexually abusing seven children who were under his care from 2005 to 2011, CBS 5 reports.
The alleged crimes came to light after a 4-year-old boy told daycare workers that his foster parent had molested him. The 13-month investigation of Holland culminated in a number of charges, including child molestation, sexual abuse, and sexual conduct with a minor.
Child Protective Services was notified at the onset of the investigation. CPS eventually pulled the foster licenses of both Holland and his wife, Alma Holland.
Initially, Phoenix detectives were unable to produce enough evidence to warrant an arrest. However, police notified Child Protective Services about the allegations, leading to the revocation of the foster licenses of both Holland and his wife.
Eventually, police identified seven victims who were previously under Holland's care, some of whom are special needs children. The victims included five girls and two boys, ranging in age from 4 to 17 years old.
Holland is facing a myriad of serious charges, including sexual abuse and sexual conduct with a minor. State law punishes a person for sexual conduct with a minor where he or she engages in sexual intercourse or oral sex with a minor. If the child is under the age of 15, it's a class 2 felony and is punishable by 13 to 27 years in prison for each conviction.
Alma has been arrested as well on child abuse charges. According to police, one of the victims told Alma about the abuse. In another instance, she allegedly walked in on her husband with a victim, but never reported it to the authorities.
Under Arizona law, certain types of people, including parents, guardians, medical professionals, and teachers, are required to report incidents of child abuse. Failure to do so could get you a class 6 felony.
- Former foster parent Steven Joseph Holland accused of sex crimes (ABC 15)
- Child Abuse (FindLaw)
- Child Abuse Resources (FindLaw)
- Couple Locks Child in Bathroom So They Could 'Have a Life' (FindLaw's Phoenix Family Law Blog)