Sexual Assaulting Your Child Will Revoke Your Visitation Rights

Mother [M] and father [F] periodically lived together for many years, but never married.  In November of 2005, M gave birth to their first child, a daughter [D]

In October of 2007, D (at 23 months of age) pointed to her genitals and buttocks and said to M, “Daddy, here.”

In July of 2009, D (almost 4 years old) told M that F bit her while she was in bed and licked her private parts over her clothing.  M contacted the police and they investigated.  They could not substantiate the allegations, and thought D may have got her information from the television.  Charges were dropped against F, but M made him leave her home permanently.  However, D continued to have overnight visitations with F.

In 2016, M and F renewed their relationship, and M gave birth to their son [S] in April of 2018.  (D was 12 years old.)  A few days after S’s birth, M found a note in D’s coat pocket saying that F had raped her.  D told M that she did not tell anyone because she didn’t want her parents to separate and that the stress of the rape may have harmed M’s unborn child.  M confronted F, and he neither confirmed nor denied the allegations, but stated it was all a misunderstanding.  Two weeks later, the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services [Agency] got a report that a D had been sexually abused by her father and that she wanted to kill herself.  D confirmed that her father sexually abused her, but that she was no longer suicidal.  According to D, the abuse began again in September of 2017, when M was two-months pregnant.

In May of 2018, M went in to Family Court and obtained a temporary restraining order against F.  In June, Agency went in to juvenile court and had D and S removed from F’s care.  Two weeks later, Agency filed a petition to have the children placed in foster care because of F’s sexual abuse of D and M’s failure to protect D from F.  The juvenile court granted Agency’s request to remove the children from F’s care, but granted custody to M.  Later the juvenile court granted a restraining order prohibiting F from having any contact with D, “either directly or indirectly in any way, including but not limited to, in person, by telephone, in writing, by public or private mail, by e-mail, by text message, by fax, or by other electronic meas.”  The order was for two years.

F appealed arguing that D was resilient and that he should be allowed to have contact with her even if he had sexually assaulted her.

The Appellate Court agreed with the trial court:

“…We conclude there was sufficient evidence that any contact between [F] and [D] would jeopardize her emotional and psychological safety regardless of whether she has been resilient.  Further, if [F] had contact with [D] through phone calls, e-mails, texts or other methods, the evidence suggests a risk that [F] would try to manipulate her into seeing him.  Thus, there is a sufficient basis to also conclude that her physical safety would be at risk but for the restraining order proscribing all contact…”

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