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St. Johns kids face uncertain future

Jennifer St. John's alleged attempted murder of her newborn girl on Valentine's Day in the restroom of a St. Helens assisted care center, and her incarceration on charges for that offense, exposes long-term questions about the custody of her two children.

Lee Coleman, who directs the St. Helens office of the Oregon Department of Human Services, said court proceedings in April should shed more light on custody of the baby and St. John's 3-year-old son from a separate relationship.

Earlier this month, Coleman's office asked Jason Miner, the 21-year-old man believed to be the baby girl's father, to sign a release for access to Miner's sealed record held by the Oregon Public Youth Authority, the state agency that administers youth correctional facilities and programs for the state.

So far, Miner has withheld his permission for DHS to review those documents.

In earlier court filings, Miner said he wanted custody of the girl, named Tayla Emira St. John. The youth authority release is needed to determine Miner's fitness as a father to potentially take custody of Tayla, Coleman said.

'We can say we have history, but we can't disclose the details of that information,' she said. 'We can't proceed until we go through a process to obtain those records.'

The father of her 3-year-old son, Randolf Reese Anderson, 39, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor sex crime in 2004 involving St. John, 21. At the time, St. John was a minor.

Anderson was initially charged with two counts of contributing to the sexual delinquency of a minor due to his sexual involvement with St. John in July 2003. St. John was under the age of 18 years old when the crime occurred. One of the counts was dropped as part of a plea agreement.

As a result of that crime, St. John gave birth to her first child, the boy, in 2005.

Anderson served 10 days in Columbia County Jail for the offense, and was placed on two years probation. He was additionally court ordered to attend sex offender treatment therapy, and to send a letter of apology to St. John.

He was also court restricted from having any contact with St. John or the boy, and had to pay up to $5,000 for St. John to receive counseling, court records indicate.

St. John was evaluated at the Columbia County Child Abuse Assessment Center following Anderson's plea deal. The results of that evaluation have been sealed as part of the court record.

Anderson is a registered sex offender, according to the Oregon State Police.

When contacted by the Spotlight, a secretary for Anderson's attorney, Rock Pizzo, said that Pizzo is not prepared to comment on whether or not Anderson intends to file for custody of the 3-year-old boy.

At present, both the boy and the newborn girl, named Tayla Emira St. John, are wards of the state's Department of Human Services. Both children are in protective foster care homes.

Coleman said it is unlikely Anderson will be given custody of the 3-year-old as the case unfolds in circuit court due to his criminal past.

'There is definitely concern,' she said, adding that both fathers should have an opportunity in April to make a case for custody.

Coleman said her department likely will not have further dealings with St. John until the criminal trial concludes.

St. John was arraigned on Friday, Feb. 22, in Columbia County Circuit Court on one count of attempted aggravated murder, one count of first-degree assault and one count of second-degree assault. She is being held on $150,000 bail.