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Name: In re Maria R.
Case #: D056110
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 06/27/2010
Summary

The trial court erred by finding that the male minor was at risk of sexual abuse because of sexual abuse of his sisters. After finding that the mother’s husband sexually abused the mother’s two oldest daughters, the trial court found that the third minor daughter and the mother’s son were at substantial risk of sexual abuse, and removed all four minors. On appeal, the mother contended that there was insufficient evidence to assume jurisdiction of the children because there was insufficient evidence of the abuse and no evidence to conclude that the mother knew about any abuse. The appellate court found that there was sufficient evidence to support the finding that the mother’s husband sexually abused the two older daughters. Further, the record supported a finding that the mother knew or reasonably should have known that the minors were in danger, and that upon suspecting the abuse, she sought to protect her husband. Further, the trial court could reasonably have concluded that the stepfather’s history of sexually abusing his daughters, together with mother’s failure to protect, placed the third daughter at risk of similar abuse. However, there was no evidence that the stepfather had an interest in sexual activity with a male child. Although there was sufficient evidence to conclude that the mother’s son was at risk of abuse, substantial evidence did not exist to support a finding that he was at risk of sexual abuse. The court remanded the case for the department to assess other risks to the minor son.