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Community House Exec. Director promises reforms after resident arrest

Community House Exec. Director promises reforms after resident arrest

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After police arrested a Community House on Broadway resident this week on suspicion of kidnapping and raping an 8-year-old boy who lived there, the shelter’s executive director says the organization is taking steps to prevent similar incidents from happening.

“We feel sick for the (victim’s) family, and we’re supporting them as much as we can,” Frank Morrison said Thursday.

He said shelter staff members are broken up by the allegations, too. “Me, I felt like I was going to have a heart attack last night,” Morrison said.

And “I’m sure residents, rightfully, have their antennas up,” he said.

Longview police arrested William Hummels, 20, on Tuesday after he admitted to sexually assaulting the boy in a Lake Sacajawea public bathroom on Feb. 22, according to court documents. Prosecutors have charged him with kidnapping, rape and child rape in the first degree. Hummels will be arraigned March 12. He is held on $500,000 bail.

Hummels’ bail study indicates he has a learning disability or disabilities. He’d been living at Community House since Dec. 9, according to Morrison.

Morrison said all Community House applicants go through criminal background, warrant and sex offender checks.

But Hummels had no criminal history and had not previously been charged with a crime, according to court documents. A Longview police detective wrote that he had been the listed suspect in five separate cases since 2010 “reporting sexual deviancy type behavior, assault with sexual motivation.”

On Thursday, Cowlitz County Prosecutor Ryan Jurvakainen clarified that his office has only received a single referral from law enforcement for Hummels prior to his recent arrest. It was a 2012 referral for a 2011 juvenile misdemeanor indecent exposure charge in Woodland. Prosecutors declined to file charges due to evidence issues and because the victim did not want to press charges, Jurvakainen said.

The prosecutor’s filing system has changed since then, so Jurvakainen said he didn’t have more detailed information on that case. (Jurvakainen became county prosecutor in late 2014.)

Morrison praised his staff and a resident who reported suspicious behavior from Hummels immediately before his arrest.

“Immediately, we got him in and talked to him,” Morrison said.

Hummels then admitted to sexual contact in a conversation with a Community House employee, according to court documents. As soon as Morrison was informed: “I said, you call the cops right away. Immediately.”

“Community House has been up and running for 32 years, and we’ve never ran into a situation like this,” Morrison said. “This was definitely an anomaly.”

Morrison said Community House has no records of Hummels receiving any formal warnings during his time at Community House prior to his confession.

Morrison said staff will continue training on identifying predatory grooming tactics. Hummels bypassed Community House policies and appeared to have groomed the victim in the alleged crimes, Morrison said. Residents are not to touch other residents’ children at all under Community House guidelines.

Morrison said he hired a new security guard about a month ago for Core Health and Community House, and he will ensure the guard keeps a regular review of security footage at the location.

According to Community House figures, the shelter housed 582 people last year, with an average of 117 residents a night. About 51% (296) of the sheltered people were members of families staying there. Adults accounted for about 80% (406) of the clients, and children accounted for the remaining 20% (176). The average length of stay last year was 88 days, the longest during a four-year span going back to 2016.

The shelter revenues come largely through government grants (15%), churches (6%)and individual donations (50%). About 90% of its spending was for service to residents, and 6% went to administrative costs, according to Community House figures.

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