Dayton man convicted of raping 4-year-old Children Services placed in his custody

Teaven Lee Curtiss

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Teaven Lee Curtiss

A Dayton man was convicted Thursday of raping a 4-year-old child who was placed in his custody by Montgomery County Children Services.

Teaven Curtiss, 51, was found guilty of charges of rape of a child under 10 years old and gross sexual imposition of a child under 13 years old in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court. He remains in Montgomery County Jail.

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Curtiss is set to be sentenced on Dec. 23.

The Dayton Daily News exclusively reported that Dayton police were investigating allegations that two children were placed by Children Services in a home with sexual assault suspects. The report says before Montgomery County Children Services placed the children in his home, Curtiss was the suspect of multiple sex-related crimes dating back to 2006 but was never convicted.

The report also says a teenager living in the home previously was accused of sexually assaulting a child in another county.

The report says a 4-year-old girl and her brother told their mother that she was being sexually assaulted by Curtiss, but the girl was not removed from the home after it was reported to Children Services.

Curtiss was indicted over the summer and at the time Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. issued a statement acknowledging that the child was known to Children Services.

“If those responsible would have heeded the red flags present, the abuse this child suffered may never have happened,” he said. “This is another tragic child abuse case, showing that we must be vigilant, and continue to put in extra care and effort, which anyone involved in these types of cases should expect. Children deserve no less.”

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In a motion filed in the criminal case before trial, prosecutors asked the judge to bar evidence of a caseworker’s opinion of whether the child was sexually abused or not.

The motion says that after the mother of the child relayed the disclosure of sexual abuse to a caseworker, the caseworker “took it upon herself to interview (the child) and her brother about the alleged sexual abuse.”

“In her case notes relating to her visit with the children, she notes that (the child) was quiet and did not make statements, but (her brother) did describe for (the caseworker) the sexual abuse he had witnessed his sister endure. Rather than referring the case to law enforcement or bringing the children into CareHouse for forensic interviews, (the caseworker) wrote off the disclosures concluding that she found (the) brother to have been coached.”

The motion says that the caseworker is not an expert in child psychology, child memory, child sexual abuse or any relevant field.

Heck said during a press conference over the summer that an investigation took place to look into the caseworker’s conduct and it was decided there wasn’t enough evidence to charge her with a felony. Dayton police said Friday that the case is still open.

“We certainly are disappointed in the jury verdict but Mr. Curtiss plans on exercising all of his appellate rights,” said his attorney Nicholas Gounaris in a statement Friday evening.

Montgomery County Children Services spokesman Kevin Lavoie said Friday the agency is unable to comment on the case at this point.

“We have been unable to obtain the police report that was given to the media in this case. Therefore, we cannot comment on information that we have no knowledge of,” he said.

The victim’s mother said in an interview with the Dayton Daily News Friday that she was glad Curtiss was convicted and that she intends to advocate at the sentencing for him to get life without parole.

“I don’t think that he should be able to come back out at any point in time of his life considering he has now ruined (the daughter) the rest of her life. She’ll never be, you know, a normal child, not after what she has been through. It’s something she’s going to have to deal with the rest of her life.”

She said she believes the caseworker and others who handled her daughter’s case also should face charges.

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