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Name: In re E.H.
Case #: B158662
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 04/28/2003
Subsequent History: None

The infant minor was hospitalized with multiple fractures at different stages of healing. She and her siblings were detained, and petitions were filed pursuant to sections 300 (a), (b), (e), (i), and (j). It could not be determined which parent or family member might have abused the minor, but she was never out of her parents’ care, and the injuries quit occurring after she was placed in foster care. The trial court found that the evidence did not establish who had injured the child, though it did conclude that the injuries were intentionally inflicted by someone in the household. It found that there was no evidence that either parent actually knew what was happening to the baby. The trial court found the petitions filed under 300(a), (b), and (i) true, but found the (e) and (j) petitions not true. The Department appealed, arguing that the trial court erred by dismissing the 300(e) allegation because there was no identified perpetrator. The appellate court here reversed, finding that the statute does not require the identity of a perpetrator to be known, but only that where abuse is caused by someone other than the parent, the parent must have known or reasonably should have known about the abuse. Here, the parents’ knowledge of the perpetrator was not required – only that they reasonably should have known the minor was being injured by someone in the home. Here, the infant was with a family member at all times, and cried whenever she was handled, yet the parents did nothing to follow up. The only reasonable conclusion is that they someone in the home was causing the injuries, and the parents should reasonably have known about it since they lived there.