DSS to review foster placement policies

Last updated: February 18. 2014 5:00PM - 11570 Views
By Anthony Gonzalez agonzalez@civitasmedia.com

Randy Jay Galyean
Randy Jay Galyean
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Minors already victims of a sexual abuse case in Wilkes County are now allegedly victims in a second sexual abuse case, which reportedly occurred in a Yadkin County home where the children were placed by social workers.

Two weeks after Randy Jay Galyean was charged with rape and Tammy Renee Galyean was charged with felony child abuse by the Yadkin County Sheriff’s Office, details of the case have emerged showing Wilkes County Department of Social Services officials removed the kids from the home of a father who was sexually molesting two of the girls, and placed them into a home subjecting the kids to more alleged sexual abuse, even knowing one of the caretakers had prior convictions for child abuse in Surry County.

Two of the children contracted a sexually transmitted disease in the melee, according to a warrant for arrest for Tammy Galyean.

Wilkes County DSS officials would not comment on the case, citing privacy laws.

It is unknown if background checks were ever performed on the caretakers, the Galyeans.

“They snatched my kids away from me,” said the children’s biological mother, Virginia Wagoner of North Wilkesboro, Monday in describing the circumstances that resulted in Wilkes DSS removing the four children from her home.

In 2012, Troy Wagoner, Virginia’s husband, self-reported to Wilkes County DSS that he was having urges of sexual acts against his own kids. The admission led to a police investigation and charges.

Court records show that Troy and Virginia Wagoner did not appear in court for a Termination of Parental Rights hearing. The couple no longer have parental rights to the children.

Last week, Troy Wagoner was sentenced in a Wilkes County courtroom after pleading guilty to indecent liberty with child. There, Wagoner learned by the prosecutor that his ex-children had allegedly succumbed to a similar fate, as they were reportedly further victimized by his family friend from Wilkes Assistant District Attorney Kisa Parker Posey.

In addition, the children’s mother and relatives reported that Wilkes DSS was aware of a prior conviction of child abuse by Tammy Galyean when the children were placed with the Galyeans.

Court records in Surry County show Tammy Renee Combs, who later married Galyean, was charged with child abuse in 1994 and 1996. A plea deal to the felony charges resulted in Tammy losing parental rights to her children and being prohibited from being alone with kids. Tammy served probation for her offense.

Melvin Royal, an uncle of the four children, said that his girlfriend, Candy Cardwell, and the Galyeans had conferenced at Wilkes County DSS, where Tammy’s prior child abuse conviction allegedly was discussed with social workers Tameka Hayes and Heather Holbrook.

“Heather said that the conviction would be no problem because it happened so long ago,” said Candy Cardwell.

“Due to confidentiality laws, we are not allowed to comment on any cases,” said William Sebastian on Monday in response to the allegations by Royal and Cardwell.

Sebastian said that DSS guidelines allow for a “safety placement” of children initially removed from a home often relying on parents recommending alternative living arrangements, even if the parents are suspected of child abuse.

According to Sebastian, the safety placement option triggers DSS to complete an investigation on the caretakers including spouses of caretakers who were previously convicted of child abuse.

Placing the children in a home of someone convicted of child abuse is permitted, according to Sebastian.

“It would depend on the severity of what had happened,” he said. “All things being equal, if we had a judge who said that they (caretaker) couldn’t be around children, no, the child would not be placed there. If the judge said that the person is not to be left alone with children…that would mean that if the other party in a married couple were suitable and they signed a statement that they would not leave the child alone with this person, that could work out.”

Sebastian said that when safety placements are made in other counties, DSS officials rely on each other to ensure that policy is adhered to and that the best interests of the victim are being represented. Other county DSS offices step in and conduct home visits and basic criminal background checks.

“Sometimes there are challenges,” said Sebastian. “The difficult part is determining if the other county has provided services.”

Sebastian indicated that he will investigate the protocols relating to the department placement and background checks.

“You can rest assured I am going to look at the matter,” he said of the case involving Wagoner’s children.

Randy Galyean sits in Yadkin County Jail on a $700,000 bond, according to a pre-trial officer. Tammy Renee Galyean was unable to post a $50,000 bond and awaits trial in Ashe County Jail.

The children remain in DSS custody.

Anthony Gonzalez may be reached at 336-835-1513 or on Twitter @newsgonz.

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