August 30, 2008 in City

Ex-firefighter faces new troubles

Subject of firehouse scandal accused of abusing second juvenile
By The Spokesman-Review
 
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Ross
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Read the license revocation of the adult home and previous coverage of Ross’ firehouse sex scandal.

Former Spokane firefighter Daniel Ross – dismissed from his city job in 2006 in a firehouse sex scandal involving an underage girl – has been accused of sexual abuse against a second juvenile in a separate incident, state officials confirmed Friday.

The more recent allegation resulted in a finding of child sexual abuse by the state’s Child Protective Services in November 2007. As a result, Ross’ wife, Colleen Ross, had her license to operate an adult family home revoked, state records show.

Allegations of sexual abuse against the second minor came to light this week when the state’s Aging and Disability Services Administration notified the news media that Colleen Ross’ license was being revoked.

The agency said Colleen Ross failed to keep her husband away from the residents at her group home at 3521 S. High Dr. after the sexual abuse finding was made in 2007, and that he was helping care for the residents.

“The provider failed to take action after she was notified of a finding of abuse for a caregiver who provided direct care to residents,” according to the revocation document dated July 18. Agency inspectors discovered Daniel Ross was providing care in a July 8 visit to the home.

John Wiley, a spokesman for the state Department of Social and Health Services, the umbrella administration for both CPS and the aging agency, confirmed that the CPS allegation involved a second person, whom he declined to identify, instead of the 16-year-old girl Daniel Ross had sex with and took explicit photos of in a Spokane fire station. In an interview at her home on Friday, Colleen Ross said the allegation involved a girl who was a friend of the family and that her husband has denied the allegation. She did not discuss what was alleged. The couple has two children.

“We think it’s a false allegation,” she said.

The Rosses’ attorney, Christian Phelps, said Friday he does not expect any criminal sanctions as a result of the second juvenile’s allegation.

Three elderly residents who had been living in the Ross home have been moved by state officials, Ross said, adding that she and her husband are planning to move. She said her husband is attending school and taking computer design classes in Spokane.

“It’s too big of a house for just us,” she said.

In 2006 a 16-year-old girl alleged that she was raped by then-firefighter Ross in Fire Station No. 17 in the Indian Trail neighborhood of northwest Spokane.

According to court records, Ross has admitted to engaging in sexual intercourse with a girl he met online and photographing the incident, but he contended the activity was consensual and he didn’t know she was a minor. A lawsuit brought by the girl against the city disputes that, contending she specifically told him she was a juvenile. He was subsequently fired from the $63,700-a-year firehouse job.

The scandal became an even bigger political mess after police deleted the photographs Ross took of the girl on a digital camera. Then-Mayor Dennis Hession publicly backed his officers’ decision to delete the photos in an incident that critics said was a case of police destroying evidence of a crime.

A city prosecutor later ruled that two detectives involved in deleting the pictures would not face charges for the loss of the photos – they said they were trying to protect the girl from the images being circulated; the department suspended them for two and three days respectively.

In December 2006 the former 16-year-old filed a “Jane Doe” lawsuit in federal court against the city and the Rosses after the city denied a $1 million damage claim stemming from the incident. Motions in the case are scheduled for next week. The Rosses’ attorney said he is seeking dismissal of the lawsuit.

Staff writer Bill Morlin contributed to this report.


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