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Name: In re A.M.
Case #: B293062
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 07/18/2019

Evidence of sexual abuse was sufficient to justify the issuance of an order restraining father from having any kind of contact with minor. In May 2018, mother filed a request for restraining order against father following the minor’s reports that father had been sexually abusing her for years. In June 2018, the Department filed a petition alleging father’s sexual abuse. It alleged also that mother had failed to protect the minor. The juvenile court detained the minor from father, and released her to mother. It then considered the request for a restraining order. The juvenile court struck the allegations against mother and sustained the petition. It removed the minor from father and ordered no reunification services. The court ordered visitation with the minor’s sibling, but the court granted the restraining order prohibiting father from having any contact with the minor of any kind for two years. Father appealed, arguing there was no credible evidence that an order restricting all communication between minor and him was necessary to ensure her safety. The appellate court rejected the arguments and affirmed. The evidence established that father sexually abused the minor over many years. Father denied the abuse and did not understand the damage he had caused to the minor. The minor did not want to see her father. There was sufficient evidence that any contact between father and the minor would jeopardize the minor’s emotional and psychological safety. If father had contact with the minor, the evidence suggested a risk that he would try to manipulate her into seeing him. There was therefore a sufficient basis to conclude that the minor’s safety would be at risk but for the restraining order.