345 F.3d 813 (9th Cir. 2003), 02-35902, Gausvik v. Perez

Docket Nº:02-35902
Citation:345 F.3d 813
Party Name:Gausvik v. Perez
Case Date:October 03, 2003
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
 
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345 F.3d 813 (9th Cir. 2003)

Ralph GAUSVIK, individually, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

Robert Ricardo PEREZ, individually, and his official capacity, Defendant-Appellant,

and

Kenneth J. Badgley, individually, and his official capacity, et al., Defendants.

No. 02-35902.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

October 3, 2003.

Argued and Submitted June 2, 2003.

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Patrick McMahon, Carlson, McMahon & Sealby, Wenatchee, WA, for the defendant-appellant.

Tyler K. Firkins, Van Siclen, Stocks & Firkins, Auburn, WA, for the plaintiff-appellee.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington; Alan A. McDonald, District Judge, Presiding. D.C. No. CV-01-00071-AAM.

Before LAY, [*] FERGUSON, and GOULD, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

LAY, Circuit Judge.

Ralph Gausvik brought suit against Detective Robert Perez, alleging Perez violated his civil rights during a sex abuse investigation. The district court denied Perez's motion for summary judgment based on qualified immunity. Perez appeals, and we reverse.

I. Background

Perez worked as a police officer in Wenatchee, Washington. Perez lived with his foster daughter, Donna Everett. In March of 1995, Donna told Perez she had

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been sexually abused by members of the Wenatchee community. Perez contacted the Washington Child Protective Services (CPS) and began an investigation. Perez and a CPS official drove Donna through Wenatchee and asked her to identify homes in which she had allegedly been abused. One of the homes identified by Donna was owned by Ralph Gausvik. Donna claimed that Gausvik abused her and her three siblings. She also claimed he abused his own children.

Gausvik lived with his girlfriend, Barbara Garaas, 1 and their three children, Troy Garaas, Delilah Garaas, and Christa Garaas. Barbara Garaas is also the mother of Travis Garaas, who lived in the same home as the rest of the children. After Donna accused Gausvik of sexual abuse, Perez interviewed Delilah Garass at her elementary school. She did not make any specific allegations of abuse during the interview.

After Delilah's interview, Perez and a CPS official visited Gausvik's home and spoke with Travis. Travis did not admit he had been sexually abused. Perez attempted to have Travis admit to the abuse, but Travis refused. Perez did not document the interview in his police report. After examining the home, CPS officials ordered the children removed and placed with foster parents.

Perez continued his investigation by interviewing Troy at the CPS office. The interview lasted for two hours. Troy, who suffers from cerebral palsy, allegedly requested a break, but Perez denied the request because Troy had already been given a drink. During the interview, Troy recounted times when he had been sexually abused by his parents and his parents' friends.

After Troy's disclosures, CPS officials spoke once again with Travis, and he continued to deny being sexually abused by his father. All of the Garaas children were then examined by Dr. Jantzen. He reported that Travis and Troy's examinations were "suggestive" of sexual abuse and Delilah's examination was "consistent" with sexual abuse. Dr. Jantzen also examined the youngest Garaas child, Christa, and concluded that her tests were "consistent with rectal penetration." Once the exams were complete, Laura Gaukroger, a Central Washington Hospital employee, and CPS worker Kate Carrow, told Perez that the exams were positive for sexual abuse and penetration. Perez then arrested Gausvik and submitted an affidavit of probable cause to the Washington Superior Court. In the affidavit, Perez stated that Gausvik "has been identified by at least 8 child victims as having been sexually abused by [him] . . . ." Perez also stated that all of the Garaas children tested positive for abuse.

The Chelan County Prosecutor charged Gausvik with sexual abuse of Troy. While preparing for the case, the prosecutor...

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