Man accused of lewd conduct with teen worked in youth facility

Man accused of lewd conduct with teen worked in youth facility

Man accused of lewd conduct with teen worked in youth facility

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by NISHI GUPTA / KTVB

NWCN.com

Posted on December 16, 2009 at 9:47 AM

GARDEN VALLEY --  A Boise man accused of having sex with a teen worked as a supervisor at a home for troubled kids.

Ryan VanHook, 33, was arrested Sunday for lewd conduct and for letting a runaway teen stay with him.  He was arraigned Monday in Ada County, and that's when his story became public.  Now we're learning a little bit more about the man who police say housed a runaway teen without her parent's permission.

Seventeen-year-old Emily Allen, a friend of the alleged victim, was sent to Project PATCH in Garden Valley over the summer.   It's a facility for kids with behavior problems where up to 40 kids can stay on site.  That's how she says she met Ryan VanHook, a dorm supervisor.

"He was a very fun guy, someone you wanted to be around," said Emily Allen.

Allen says VanHook took special interest in her and her 16-year-old friend.

"He was so friendly and she was always speaking well of him, how much she adored him and how fond of her he was," said Allen.

In an e-mail, Project PATCH's director says VanHook began working in June but resigned on Nov. 28 to take another job.  The 28th is the same day investigators believe the alleged abuse began at VanHook’s home in Boise.

“I want to say that I'm shocked at the whole situation, but like I said I'm just not. I almost saw it coming," Allen said.

"As a mother your job is to protect your child. I sent her over there with all faith they were going to watch over her and protect her," Pebbles Allen-Gentilman said.

Allen's mother pulled her child out of Project PATCH weeks before Van Hook's arrest, and later learned of other violations that she passed on to the state health department, which licensed Project PATCH.  Her complaint launched an investigation in November.

The state found some minor problems, but no complaints about VanHook surfaced when kids and staff members were interviewed.

"There was no, nothing came out of that that would make one suspect there was inappropriate sexual contact being made at that facility," Tom Shanahan of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare said.

Project PATCH says it is cooperating with police but can not discuss details because of the investigation.  The state tells us VanHook had to pass a criminal history check to be working there.

Police say the 16-year-old girl was found Saturday and is now home with her family.  E-mails sent to her family for comment were not returned. 

VanHook is currently being held at the Ada County Jail on a $50,000 bond.  He has a preliminary hearing next Monday.

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