Child abducted by grandfather returned to gay couple

The Associated Press
Tuesday October 24, 2000

CATHEDRAL CITY— A 10-year-old boy abducted by a grandfather who wanted him to be involved in baseball rather than ballet has been returned to the gay couple who raised him since infancy, his uncle said. 

The child, Miguel Washington, was surrendered to authorities by relatives in Pennsylvania on Friday and returned to the home of his uncle, Paul Washington Jr., and Timothy Forrester on Sunday. 

“Right now he’s really happy to be home,” Washington Jr. said. “We’re absolutely elated. Our family is united again.” 

An attorney for Paul Washington Sr. and Sandra Washington, Miguel’s grandparents, said his clients intend to pursue custody. 

“My clients don’t feel that’s the best home for him,” said attorney Bill Hence Jr. “I’m very disappointed in the agencies that were supposed to be protecting the rights of the child.”  

A hearing is scheduled Dec. 4 in Riverside County to decide permanent custody of Miguel.  

Riverside County Deputy District Attorney Tex Ritter said his office is reviewing the possibility of filing criminal charges in connection with Miguel’s abduction. 

“We’re going to review the strengths and weaknesses of the case before we make any determination as to whether any charges will be filed,” Ritter said. 

Washington Sr. picked up Miguel for an overnight fishing trip on Oct. 6 and never brought him back, Washington Jr. said. 

Instead, Washington and Forrester received a letter from a Los Angeles law firm Oct. 7 stating that Miguel had been removed from their home and accused the pair of “actively promoting or influencing a gay lifestyle for the minor.” 



The letter cited Miguel’s participation in ballet and “gay art class” instead of baseball as one reason for the boy’s removal. 

Miguel is the child of Washington Jr.’s sister, Angelena Washington, who is unable to care for Miguel because of a mental disability, family members said. 

The younger Washington has cared for Miguel since he was 8 days old with the consent of family members, said Ritter, who heads the Riverside County Child Abduction Unit. No formal custody arrangement has ever been made, he said. 

Superior Court Judge Randall D. White issued an order Oct. 13 for Miguel to be returned to the home of Washington Jr. and Forrester.