MONTESANO — On Friday, Oct. 2, a manager for Willapa Behavioral Health’s youth wraparound services program was charged with nine felonies, including rape of a person with developmental disabilities.
Paul Thomas Clark, 45, was charged in Grays Harbor Superior Court with four counts of child pornography, one count of dealing child pornography, three counts of communicating with minors for immoral purposes and one count of rape in second degree of a person with developmental disabilities. The ninth count, rape in the second degree, was dismissed at Clark's arraignment.
Clark was hired in July 2018 to be a clinical services manager for Willapa Behavioral Health’s Wraparound with Intensive Services team. The program specializes in helping youth who either struggle in school, have legal issues or are somehow engaged with Child Protective Services, according to WBH’s website.
Youths in the WISe program receive services for a minimum of six months and on average stay with the program 14 months. Some of the services offered are inpatient, others allow the youths involved to stay in their home. In 2020, about 58% of youths screened for WISe in Southwest Washington were also involved in a special education program, according to an October 2020 quarterly report from the Washington Health Care Authority.
In addition to his alleged possession of child pornography, Clark’s charging affidavit described him going “into great detail” with another user about how to groom children in order to have sex with them. As of Oct. 6, Clark was being held in place of a $100,000 bond in the Grays Harbor County Correctional Facility.
After his arrest, WBH put Clark on administrative leave and began advertising for his position, said David Nicholson-Klingerman, WBH’s chief compliance and integration officer and interim co-CEO after the departure of Adam Marquis. Whether Clark will return to the program depends on the outcome of this court case, Nicholson-Klingerman said. He noted Willapa Behavioral Health would need to follow labor laws as well as the ethical guidelines of its profession in handling Clark’s criminal charges.
The arrest came as a shock, Nicholson-Kilngerman said.
“As far as I know, this doesn’t involve any WISe clients directly,” Nicholson-Klingerman said.
The rest of the WISe team was in the process of making sure of that, Nicholson-Kingerman said Monday, Oct. 5.
Tip sets off investigation
The Montesano Police Department began investigating Clark after getting a tip through the Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office from the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children. The report from the center was about a Tumblr account that uploaded photos flagged as potential child pornography, according to a charging affidavit filed in Grays Harbor County Superior Court. Tumblr is a social media site that allows users to maintain blog-style web pages.
MPD Lt. Bob Wilson believed three of the four photos uploaded matched the criteria of child pornography. The Tumblr user’s blog URL was “daddylovesnaughtylittlegirls.tumblr.com,” according to the affidavit. Police connected the Tumblr account to an IP address and a phone number belonging to Clark. The email address used to set up the Tumblr account was also associated with Clark’s IP address.
After obtaining a search warrant for Clark’s Tumblr account, Wilson found more images of underage girls, including GIFS, or moving images, depicting young girls being raped, according to the affidavit.
Wilson also found conversations between Clark and other Tumblr users, including one involving a girl who Wilson estimated to be under the age of 13 based on her profile picture. Clark tried to convince the girl to send him nude pictures and offered to buy her electronics in exchange. He had a similar conversation with another user who Wilson suspected was underage.
In another set of conversations, Clark exchanged child pornography with another user. The user told Clark the pictures he was sending him were of his underage sister who he claimed to be abusing. In another conversation, Clark spoke with an adult woman who offered to send photos of her underage daughter, and offered to let Clark rape her daughter.
In another conversation, Clark told a user about how he was able to coach a girl with developmental disabilities into having sex with him, according to the affidavit. Wilson was able to confirm with that girl that she was in an active sexual relationship with Clark.
Scrutiny of Willapa Behavioral Health leadership increased in August after employees formed an association and called for the ouster of CEO Marquis. Marquis left the organization at the end of September after first being hired in July 2017.