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News / Clark County News

Bail set at $1M for child care worker accused of sex abuse at Salmon Creek center

Clark County prosecutor says she expects to file more charges in the case

By Becca Robbins, Columbian staff reporter
Published: May 30, 2024, 4:48pm

A judge set bail at $1 million for a Salmon Creek child care worker facing child molestation and child sexual abuse imagery charges.

Jamil Holbrook, 23, of Oregon City, Ore., appeared Thursday in Clark County Superior Court on a warrant for one count of first-degree child molestation and four counts of possession of depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Senior Deputy Prosecutor Laurel Smith said she anticipates filing additional charges against Holbrook based on new information since the warrant was authorized May 20. She said when Holbrook was contacted by police in Oregon, he confessed to touching a number of other children.

Smith said investigators have identified four victims. The Clark County Sheriff’s Office said its special victims unit has also notified other law enforcement agencies in Washington and Oregon of possible crimes that occurred in their jurisdictions.

Judge Suzan Clark said she’s concerned by the number of victims and that she believes Holbrook poses a threat to community safety. He is scheduled to be arraigned June 12.

The prosecutor said Holbrook previously worked at a child care facility in Portland. Law enforcement contacted him in 2019 over concerns about child sex abuse imagery, she said, but he was not charged in that investigation. Holbrook lost his job in Portland after that investigation, Smith said, and he subsequently got a job at a child care center in Salmon Creek. A probable cause affidavit identified it as Children’s Village Early Learning Center, 1900 N.E. 129th St.

In a statement Thursday, the center said Holbrook’s employment was terminated.

“The charges are sickening. We will continue to support the investigation in any way we can. … Our commitment to caring for children remains at the heart of what we do. We will focus on loving our children and families through this awful situation,” the statement says.

Smith said Holbrook’s commute was nearly 1½ hours from his house to the Salmon Creek child care center, which she said shows how far he’s willing to go to have contact with children.

Holbrook’s defense attorney noted he doesn’t have criminal history, and she called the prosecutor’s bail request excessive.

After the judge ordered bail, Holbrook began crying and said, “I just want to see my mom. I just want to go home.”

Sheriff’s office investigators received a report from Child Protective Services that a 5-year-old boy who attended the Salmon Creek child care center said in March that his teacher, who investigators identified as Holbrook, had taken photos of his genitals with his cellphone, according to a probable cause affidavit.

When deputies interviewed Holbrook, he told them when the boy arrived at the child care center that day, he was walking strangely as if his clothes didn’t fit correctly. He took the boy behind a bookshelf for privacy and helped him fix his underwear. Holbrook said he never saw the boy’s genitals and did not take photos of the boy, court records state.

Another employee showed detectives videos from the child care center’s surveillance cameras. On it, deputies said Holbrook can be seen with his phone in his hand while he and the boy are behind the bookshelf, and the video captures flashes from Holbrook’s phone, according to court records.

When detectives searched his phone, they located several sexually explicit videos of children. Investigators said they also found a group chat on Holbrook’s phone that appeared to show the participants messaging about child sex abuse, according to the affidavit.

Investigators said they did not find photos on Holbrook’s phone of the boy. But they found photos and videos of other children, court records state, including some from the Salmon Creek child care center who were clothed but appeared to be engaged in sexually suggestive acts.