Friday, September 16, 2005

Anthony J. v. Superior Court (Cal. Ct. App. - Aug. 31, 2005)

There's nothing good about this one, whomever one believes. Here's the first several paragraphs of the facts, which I've briefly edited (and inserted fictitious names instead of initials):

Father and Todd’s mother (Mother) were living together in September 2004 when both were incarcerated on criminal charges of child cruelty involving Mother's two older children, Nancy (born in Nov. 1995) and Robert (born in Feb. 2000) . . . . Nancy told a social worker that she had been sexually abused on an ongoing basis by the maternal grandmother, who was babysitting the children while Mother worked. Nancy was diagnosed with genital warts and said that the maternal grandmother would invite male friends to have sex with Nancy. In July 2004, Mother told the social worker that the maternal grandmother had similarly sexually exploited her when she was a child. Both Mother and Nancy told the social worker that Nancy had oral sex with her younger brother, Robert.

Both children were extremely emotionally fragile, with Nancy expressing suicidal thoughts and Robert suffering from nightmares and post-traumatic stress disorder. In August 2004, Mother denied that Nancy was sexually abused and told an investigator that Nancy might have gotten genital warts at the hospital. In October 2004, Mother denied sexual abuse by the maternal grandmother and told the social worker that she and Nancy did not tell the truth about the maternal grandmother because her boyfriend, Father, had abused and intimidated them and threatened to beat Mother if she did not make the statements about the maternal grandmother. . . .

Nancy and Robert were declared dependents under section 300, subdivisions (b) (failure to protect), (c) (serious emotional harm), (d) (sexual abuse), (i) (cruelty), and (j) (abuse of sibling) based on findings that Mother neglected them and failed to protect Nancy from sexual exploitation by the maternal grandmother and from physical abuse by Father. . . . The sustained petition alleged that Father struck, bruised, and scarred Nancy’s body with an extension cord, pulled some of Nancy’s hair from her head, struck her in the face causing black eyes, stomped on and broke her shoulder, and forced her to drink Robert’s urine.

In early March 2005, Mother gave birth to Todd in jail. . . . . On May 10, 2005, the juvenile court sustained a petition finding that Todd was a dependent under section 300, subdivisions (a) (serious physical harm), (b) (failure to protect), and (j) (abuse of sibling) based on the same underlying allegations of abuse which had been sustained as to Todd’s siblings, and on the allegations that Todd’s siblings were dependents of the juvenile court and that Mother failed to reunify with the siblings. According to DCFS's jurisdictional and dispositional report, Father acknowledged to a social worker that he had physically abused Nancy and Robert, admitting that he hit them with a VCR cord, belt, and his hand, and that he slapped Nancy, resulting in a black eye. Father denied knowing about the sexual abuse, but admitted that he observed Nancy orally copulate Robert on numerous occasions. He also denied making Nancy drink Robert’s urine but did admit that he threatened it after witnessing Nancy orally copulate Robert. According to the report, Father "told Nancy not to do it because Robert had not taken a bath all day, not because it was an inappropriate thing to do."

At a contested dispositional hearing on May 17, 2005, Mother's therapist testified that Mother told her that Mother believed that Mother's boyfriend molested her daughter and that he hit the two older children. Mother testified that she was lying when she told the social worker that the maternal grandmother molested her when she was a child. Mother said that she made the statements about the maternal grandmother and caused N.L. to make statements about the maternal grandmother because Father was beating her, threatening her, and threatening to kill her children.