PORT ANGELES — A former Forks foster parent will spend at least 8½ years in prison after pleading guilty to second- and third-degree child rape of a child under his care.
His wife is awaiting trial on charges of allegedly abusing and threatening the same girl.
David “Barney” Allen, 57, a Forks High School graduate and former Jefferson Transit bus driver, was sentenced last week by Clallam County Superior Court Judge Simon Barnhart after pleading guilty March 10. A first-degree child molestation charge was dismissed.
The survivor, now 14, said Allen repeatedly assaulted her over five years, the last time two weeks before he was arrested in September 2020, according to an April 14 presentence report.
Allen’s wife, Irma Perez Allen, reported the abuse, which she knew was occurring, according to a probable cause statement. The girl told a relative of the abuse who pressured Allen’s wife to notify authorities.
Irma Allen has been charged with third-degree child rape and molestation, second-degree assault with a deadly weapon and tampering with a witness. A status hearing is May 20 and a trial set for June 21.
She has denied knowing of the abuse, abusing the girl or threatening her.
Her lawyer, Lane Wolfley of Port Angeles, said last week he was reviewing the presentence report and expects the prosecuting attorney’s office to propose a plea offer for his client, a former teaching assistant.
“I just thought it was a very complete report, to be honest,” Wolfley said Thursday.
“We will be entering into negotiations within a week or two, I am sure.”
At the sentencing hearing Wednesday, Deputy Criminal Prosecuting Attorney Matthew Roberson said sparing the survivor having to testify at trial, and Allen’s willingness to take responsibility, “tipped the scales” for agreeing to a mandatory minimum 102-month sentence, the low end of the sentencing range that was, at its maximum, 11.3 years.
“[The girl] is a young lady who was coming out of one bad situation and through the actions of Mr. Allen was placed in a horrible situation,” Roberson said.
Allen had the girl sleep in his bed while he and his wife were foster parents for other children in their Chuckhole Way home, according to a probable cause statement.
Sexual abuse “became [the girl’s] norm,” Roberson said.
“She won’t have to testify looking Mr. Allen in the eyes, across from him,” he said.
“She won’t have to be retraumatized.”
Roberson said the survivor agreed to the 8½-year sentence as a condition of the plea deal being offered to Allen.
“It was a way for the state to empower her to make that decision after years of the defendant taking away that power,” he said.
The girl, a Hoh tribal member, wrote a victim-impact statement that was read at the hearing.
“”I have always hated that we never had a true, 100 percent dad-daughter relationship,” she said in the statement.
“I am well, I am with my family now, the people I call my soul family, the ones who love me at least as much as I love them,” she said.
“To be honest, I wish more people would have defended me other than [the relative],” she said.
“I would have had a better childhood if people would have listened to me when I said something.
“What you did hurt me to my core,” she said.
“I’m not gong to be sour about it. You would think that when abuse like this happens, the state would do something about it,” she said.
“I wrote this because I’m finally ready to forgive myself, and give myself compassion, because I deserve better.”
Allen did not make a statement, telling authorities when he was arrested that had been sexually abusing the girl.
His lawyer, John Black of Port Angeles, said while Allen’s and the girl’s account of the assaults differed, it would be problematic to his client to present those accounts to a jury.
“Of course, he doesn’t want to put her through that kind of trauma,” Black said.
The girl told the presentence report investigator that while living with the Allens, she and other foster children were always kept inside the house, making her terrified now to go outside when given the chance.
“Once the girls threatened to call the police, and Barney unplugged all the cellphones and all electronic devices, then disconnected the box from the wall so no calls could go out,” she said in the report.
Barnhart called Allen’s offenses “horrific” before sentencing him.
“It’s unconscionable to me to imagine that that could happen, in any event, in any circumstance, but particularly considering the unique needs of [the survivor] in her life and the role that you professed to play for her and people similarly situated, and the erosion of trust is devastating to a community,” Barnhart said.
“We have a system of foster care that labors under tremendous burdens and tremendous odds to ensure that these children emerge as intact and as unscathed as possible under already impossible circumstances.
“It’s unthinkable to me that this could happen, and it shocks the conscience.”
He called the survivor inspiring, “capable of clear and precise thought about her circumstances.”
Allen could serve up to life in prison depending on when the Indeterminate Sentence Review Board decides to release him after he serve 8½ years.
The Allens have been foster parents in Forks since 2001, according to the state Department of Children, Youth and Families. Six foster children were living with them at the time of their arrest.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].