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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Question Harboring a Runaway, Aiding and Abetting

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Washington

    What process needs to occur to charge a family with a civil lawsuit for harboring a runaway, as well as aiding and abetting?

    My girlfriend's daughter ran away to a friend, whose mother informed us she was there, and attempted to "run" the "negotiation" in trying to get us to allow our daughter to stay with her.

    When we told her to return the child, she said "Well the child has more rights than you know, and she WILL try to run away..." to which we replied, "Thank you, but no thank you. She needs to be here to deal with these issues, not hiding out where she wanted to be." Sounding resigned, the mother agreed to bring our daughter back and went home. We heard nothing for hours.

    We called the police (for the 3rd time), who told us to go to the house and ask for her back. If she refused, then we could get a police officer there. When we arrived, the mother informed us that her daughter had taken our daughter to a movie or something, and she didn't know where she was (They both have a cell phone, and never bothered to check).

    We then decided to check another friend's house and lo and behold, her daughter's vehicle was there in the driveway. The household claimed our daughter wasn't there. We went around the corner to call the police, as instructed to do, and saw the vehicle drive away. I left my girlfriend at the corner waiting for the police to show up and tried to follow the car. It disappeared, so I figured I would beat them home and headed that direction. My girlfriend then watched the vehicle come back to the house, and when she tried to approach and stop them, the car backed out and the driver looked straight at my girlfriend and floored it, racing back home.

    I was sitting on the side of the road waiting for them at 1:30am when they arrived back at her friend's house, and we called the police immediately. They told us to wait for an officer. By 3:45am, no officer had shown up, so we had to give up and go home, for fear we'd be too tired to try to drive home after that.

    The next day, the mother called to inform us, VERY matter-of-factly, that our daughter had indeed shown up at 1:30am, and she'd informed her that she needed to "make a decision" about what to do. Our daughter was somehow granted another night in the house, and had run away in the middle of the night.

    That was 2 weeks ago... and we haven't heard a peep since.

    What are our legal options with regards to a civil suit against those parents? We would very much like to nail them for all of this, ESPECIALLY since our daughter is bipolar, suicidal and currently on medication that psychiatrists have acknowledged will make her MORE suicidal and so on...

    She was supposed to have a medical appointment to change the medication, as well as a dental appointment for a ticking time-bomb potential abcessed tooth last week, but missed them both because she ran from her friend's mother's house.

    Since the mother knowingly let the child stay at her house another night, isn't she responsible for the anything that happens to the child, as well as any and all charges stemming from this?

    Last but not least, the "friend" of our daughter is 18.... so can she be charged for kidnapping (for the driving away thing) as well as aiding/abetting and harboring?

    Would a lawyer take this case pro bono by any chance?

    We're so lost at the moment is isn't even funny. My girlfriend is on L&I due to a work-related car accident, and is being treated for severe depression as is. This just compounds everything, to the point where I'm left to console her and do my best to keep her from snapping and doing something irrational and potentially illegal.

    Please help!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006

    Default Re: Harboring a Runaway/Aiding and Abetting

    Q: What process needs to occur to charge a family with a civil lawsuit for harboring a runaway, as well as aiding and abetting?

    A: You need to hire a lawyer. You can certainly ask around, but I suspect you will be hard pressed to find a pro bono lawyer.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Harboring a Runaway/Aiding and Abetting

    Pursuant to Washington law,
    Quote Quoting RCW 13.32A.082 - Providing shelter to minor — Requirement to notify parent, law enforcement, or department.
    (1) Any person who, without legal authorization, provides shelter to a minor and who knows at the time of providing the shelter that the minor is away from the parent's home without the permission of the parent, or other lawfully prescribed residence, shall promptly report the location of the child to the parent, the law enforcement agency of the jurisdiction in which the person lives, or the department. The report may be made by telephone or any other reasonable means.

    (2) Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the definitions in this subsection apply throughout this section.
    (a) "Shelter" means the person's home or any structure over which the person has any control.

    (b) "Promptly report" means to report within eight hours after the person has knowledge that the minor is away from a lawfully prescribed residence or home without parental permission.
    (3) When the department receives a report under subsection (1) of this section, it shall make a good faith attempt to notify the parent that a report has been received and offer services designed to resolve the conflict and accomplish a reunification of the family.
    Quote Quoting RCW 13.32A.084 - Providing shelter to minor — Immunity from liability.
    If a person provides the notice required in RCW 13.32A.082, he or she is immune from liability for any cause of action arising from providing shelter to the child. The immunity shall not extend to acts of intentional misconduct or gross negligence by the person providing the shelter.
    There's also this statute, which could apply in the absence of notice or once the police become involved:
    Quote Quoting RCW 13.32A.080 - Unlawful harboring of a minor — Penalty — Defense — Prosecution of adult for involving child in commission of offense.
    (a) A person commits the crime of unlawful harboring of a minor if the person provides shelter to a minor without the consent of a parent of the minor and after the person knows that the minor is away from the home of the parent, without the parent's permission, and if the person intentionally:
    (i) Fails to release the minor to a law enforcement officer after being requested to do so by the officer; or

    (ii) Fails to disclose the location of the minor to a law enforcement officer after being requested to do so by the officer, if the person knows the location of the minor and had either taken the minor to that location or had assisted the minor in reaching that location; or

    (iii) Obstructs a law enforcement officer from taking the minor into custody; or

    (iv) Assists the minor in avoiding or attempting to avoid the custody of the law enforcement officer.
    (b) It is a defense to a prosecution under this section that the defendant had custody of the minor pursuant to a court order.
    (2) Unlawful harboring of a minor is punishable as a gross misdemeanor.

    (3) Any person who provides shelter to a child, absent from home, may notify the department's local community service office of the child's presence.

    (4) An adult responsible for involving a child in the commission of an offense may be prosecuted under existing criminal statutes including, but not limited to:
    (a) Distribution of a controlled substance to a minor, as defined in RCW 69.50.406;

    (b) Promoting prostitution as defined in chapter 9A.88 RCW; and

    (c) Complicity of the adult in the crime of a minor, under RCW 9A.08.020.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Default Re: Harboring a Runaway/Aiding and Abetting

    Yes she did inform us, but she then deliberately did NOT inform us when the child returned that night, and the child escaped her custody, going on the run for 13 days now... so does that mean she's still liable? Since if she'd done her job the 2nd time, this would have been avoided?

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