In re Aubrey K.

Citation216 Conn.App. 632,285 A.3d 1153
Decision Date21 November 2022
Docket NumberAC 45241
CourtAppellate Court of Connecticut

216 Conn.App. 632
285 A.3d 1153


AC 45241

Appellate Court of Connecticut.

Argued September 6, 2022
Officially released November 21, 2022**

285 A.3d 1156

Joshua Michtom, assistant public defender, for the appellant (respondent mother).

Nisa J. Khan, assistant attorney general, with whom, on the brief, were William Tong, attorney general, and Evan O'Roark, assistant attorney general, for the appellee (petitioner).

Bright, C. J., and Seeley and Pellegrino, Js.


216 Conn.App. 634

The respondent mother, Victoria K., appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered in favor of the petitioner, the Commissioner of Children and Families, terminating her parental rights with respect to her minor daughter, Aubrey K. (Aubrey),1

216 Conn.App. 635

on the ground that the respondent's acts of parental commission or omission denied Aubrey the care necessary for her well-being pursuant to General Statutes § 17a-112 (j) (3) (C).2 The court

285 A.3d 1157

also found that, although the Department of Children and Families (department) had made reasonable efforts to reunify the respondent with Aubrey, the respondent was unable or unwilling to benefit from reunification efforts; see General Statutes § 17a-112 (j) (1) ; and that termination of the respondent's parental rights was in Aubrey's best interest. See General Statutes § 17a-112 (j) (2). On appeal, the respondent's single claim is that there was insufficient evidence for the trial court to find that the termination of her parental rights was in Aubrey's best interest. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

The following facts and procedural history are relevant to the resolution of this appeal. Aubrey was born in October, 2014, to the respondent and Jacob K. (Jacob) and is the respondent's eldest child. Jacob abused the respondent during their relationship, and Aubrey was present as an infant during incidents of the abuse. In 2015, Jacob was arrested and charged with various offenses stemming from his physical abuse of the respondent, and the criminal court issued a protective order against Jacob protecting the respondent from May 26, 2015, through November 15, 2016. In December, 2017, the respondent had a second child, Amelia K. (Amelia), with Gregory S. (Gregory).3

216 Conn.App. 636

In January, 2019, the respondent met and began a romantic relationship with Dylan V. (Dylan) while both were staying at a shelter in New Britain. In February, 2019, Dylan, the respondent, Aubrey, and Amelia moved into an apartment together. Dylan began physically abusing the respondent shortly thereafter and continued to do so on a regular basis while he lived with the respondent. While she and her children lived with Dylan, the respondent left Aubrey and Amelia alone in Dylan's care while she went to work Monday through Friday afternoons and when she had appointments in the mornings. During this time, Aubrey was assaulted by Dylan at least once in the respondent's presence.

On June 22, 2019, the department received a report from the Hospital of Central Connecticut (hospital) regarding Amelia through its Child Abuse and Neglect Careline (careline). After an initial evaluation at the hospital, Amelia was transferred to Connecticut Children's Medical Center (medical center) due to physical injuries. She had sustained multiple rib fractures, two healing hand fractures of the right hand, a laceration to the pancreas, significant bruising to her body, and bruising around her anus. Amelia had also lost two pounds in one week, vomited several times, had a low-grade fever for two weeks, and appeared "wobbly and weak." Her blood work did not show any underlying medical conditions that may have caused the injuries. Amelia's injuries were suspicious for inflicted injury and the matter was referred to the medical center's Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) team for further investigation.

In the early hours of June 23, 2019, the department faxed a suspected abuse and

285 A.3d 1158

neglect report to the New Britain Police Department. The department also

216 Conn.App. 637

assigned the case to a careline primary investigator, who worked with the SCAN team to investigate the matter. Due to the suspicious nature of Amelia's injuries, the department investigator and the SCAN team had Aubrey examined for similar injuries. Aubrey did not present with any bruising or physical injuries. At that time, both the respondent and Dylan maintained that they did not know how Amelia had been injured.

At 1:50 p.m., the department investigator and a medical center trauma team member spoke with the respondent individually and informed her of the full extent of Amelia's injuries. Upon hearing this, the respondent became extremely upset and stated that only she and Dylan care for the children, and because she did not injure Amelia, Dylan must have done so. The department thereafter implemented a ninety-six hour administrative hold on behalf of both Aubrey and Amelia.

Police officers then brought the respondent and Dylan to the New Britain Police Department and interviewed them separately. The respondent reported that she first noticed bruises on Amelia two weeks prior to June 22, 2019, and that the bruises continued to grow. On June 22, 2019, upon seeing that Amelia could not walk, the respondent brought Amelia to the hospital. She had not sought medical attention for Amelia in relation to the bruising prior to that point.

During his interview with the police, Dylan admitted to causing Amelia's injuries. About two weeks prior to June 22, 2019, Amelia became fussy and would not go back to bed. Amelia had been constipated, so Dylan put her on the kitchen counter and began pushing on her stomach with his fists. Dylan became frustrated and proceeded to push on her stomach as hard as he could. He also said that he became angry and "snapped" and might have punched Amelia in the stomach. Dylan then placed Amelia in her crib. When Amelia continued to

216 Conn.App. 638

cry, Dylan went into her room and grabbed two of her fingers and bent them backward. Dylan did not tell the respondent about his actions. On June 24, 2019, Dylan was arrested and charged with cruelty to persons, risk of injury to a child, and assault in the first degree.

On June 24, 2019, department investigators and SCAN team members met with the respondent to gather social history information regarding Amelia and further interview her about the events leading to Amelia's injuries. The respondent disclosed previous incidents of domestic violence by Dylan and indicated that she was fearful of him. Although she had wanted to bring Amelia for medical care earlier than June 22, Dylan had told her not to and she had been afraid Dylan would hurt her if she did not do what he said.

On June 27, 2019, the respondent was arrested and charged with risk of injury to a child and cruelty to persons for her failure to seek medical attention for Amelia in a timely manner. Subsequently, the respondent pleaded nolo contendere and was thereafter convicted of one count of risk of injury to a child.4 She was sentenced to five years of incarceration, execution suspended, with three years of probation. The sentencing court also issued a no contact standing criminal protective order prohibiting the respondent from having

285 A.3d 1159

any contact with Amelia until January 7, 2099.

On June 27, 2019, the petitioner sought an order of temporary custody on behalf of both Aubrey and Amelia. She alleged that the children were in physical danger and that immediate removal was necessary to ensure their safety. That day, the petitioner also filed neglect petitions and termination of parental rights petitions as to both children.

216 Conn.App. 639

In the neglect petitions, the petitioner alleged that the children had been denied proper care and attention, physically, educationally, emotionally, or morally, and that the children had been permitted to live under conditions, circumstances, or associations injurious to their well-being. Additionally, the petitioner alleged that Amelia had been abused in that she (1) had physical injury or injuries inflicted by other than accidental means, (2) had injuries that were at variance with the history given of them, or (3) was in a condition that resulted from maltreatment, including but not limited to malnutrition, sexual molestation or exploitation, deprivation of necessities, emotional maltreatment, or cruel punishment.

In the termination of parental rights petition for Aubrey, the petitioner alleged claims of abandonment and no ongoing relationship as to her father, Jacob, and acts of commission/omission as to the respondent. Regarding Amelia, the petitioner alleged claims of abandonment and no ongoing...

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    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • March 14, 2023
    ......"It is well. established that [i]n a case tried before a court, the trial. judge is the sole arbiter of the credibility of the witnesses. and the weight to be given specific testimony.". (Internal quotation marks omitted.) In re Aubrey K., . 216 Conn.App. 632, 658, 285 A.3d 1153 (2022), cert, denied,. 345 Conn. 972,286A.3d 907 (2023). Thus, even if a party. testifies that the mistake was not common to both parties, as. was the case here, the judge can find that testimony to be. lacking credibility, ......
  • In re Nevaeh G.-M.
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    • March 2, 2023
    ...... of this court to reweigh the evidence presented or to pass. upon the credibility of witnesses, and we decline the. respondent's implicit invitation to do so in this case,. particularly in the context of this claim. See In re. Aubrey K., 216 Conn.App. 632, 658, 285 A.3d 1153 (2022),. cert, denied, 345 Conn. 972, 286 A.3d 907 (2023); In re. Lillyanne D., 215 Conn.App. 61, 98, 281 A.3d 521, cert,. denied, 345 Conn. 913, 283 A.3d 981 (2022). . .          Next,. the respondent ......
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    • United States
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    • July 21, 2023
    ...... to treat borderline personality disorders and addictive. personality disorders. To be successful, it demands honesty. both from the patient and the clinician." (Internal. quotation marks omitted.) In re Aubrey K, 216. Conn.App. 632, 660-61 n.14, 285 A.3d 1153 (2022), cert,. denied, 345 Conn. 972, 286 A.3d 907 (2023). . . [ 12 ] Because we conclude that the court. properly determined that the department made reasonable. efforts to reunify the respondent with the ......
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    ...... was in his children's best interests. We are not. persuaded. . .          In. reviewing a trial court's best interests determination,. we apply the clearly erroneous standard of review. See In. re Aubrey K, 216 Conn.App. 632, 653, 285 A.3d 1153. (2022), cert, denied, 345 Conn. 972, 286 A.3d 907 (2023). "In the dispositional phase of a termination of parental. rights hearing, the emphasis appropriately shifts from the. conduct of the parent to the best interest of the child. ......
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