Juvenile Officer v. C.P.S. (In re Interest of K.S.W.), WD 77453

CourtCourt of Appeal of Missouri (US)
Writing for the CourtJames Edward Welsh, Judge
Citation454 S.W.3d 422
PartiesIn the Interest of: K.S.W.; Plaintiff, Juvenile Officer ; Respondent, Department of Social Services, Missouri Children's Division, Respondent, v. C.P.S.; Appellant, D.B.W., Appellant.
Decision Date17 February 2015
Docket NumberWD 77453

454 S.W.3d 422

In the Interest of: K.S.W.; Plaintiff
Juvenile Officer ; Respondent
Department of Social Services, Missouri Children's Division, Respondent
v.
C.P.S.; Appellant
D.B.W., Appellant.

WD 77453

Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District.

OPINION FILED: February 17, 2015


Valerie Sieverling, Kansas City, MO, Counsel for Appellant, C.P.S.

Laurie Snell, Kansas City, MO, Counsel for Appellant, D.B.W.

Donald Forrester, Kansas City, MO, Counsel for Plaintiff.

Lori Fluegel, Kansas City, MO, Counsel for Respondent, Juvenile Officer Gary.

Gary Gardner, Jefferson City, MO, Counsel for Respondent, Dept. of Social Services.

Before Division Three: Victor C. Howard, P.J., James Edward Welsh, and Gary D. Witt, JJ.

Opinion

454 S.W.3d 424

James Edward Welsh, Judge

C.P.S. and D.B.W. (“the Parents”) appeal the circuit court's judgment sustaining the Juvenile Officer's petition which alleged that K.S.W. (“the Juvenile”) was without the necessary and proper care, custody, or support and is subject to jurisdiction of the court, pursuant to section 211.031.1, RSMo.1 We dismiss.

Background

This case was initially presented to the circuit court in 2011 and 2012. The circuit court sustained the Juvenile Officer's petition at that time, and, on appeal, this Court reversed and remanded for rehearing in In re K.S. W., 412 S.W.3d 452, 457 (Mo.App.2013). That opinion recites the pertinent background facts as follows:

In December of 2003, when K.S.-W. was ten years old, the Children's Division placed K.S.-W. in the foster home of Appellants2 after he was abused in his prior foster home. Appellants adopted K.S.-W. and his brother, D.J., in December of 2006.
In August of 2010, when K.S.-W. was seventeen years old, he was placed in the Woodward Sexual Offender Program. In the program, participants are required to take a polygraph test and discuss incidents of sexual abuse they perpetrated along with any sexual acts perpetrated on them. During the polygraph test, the examiner asked K.S.-W. if he had ever been sexually abused at home and he initially said, “No.” The test indicated that K.S.-W. failed that question and the examiner and staff discussed this with him further. K.S.-W. then reported that he had improperly touched his older half-brother who had cerebral palsy, that he had molested a current foster brother, and that Appellant C.P.S. had abused him. K.S.-W.'s allegations with regard to C.P.S. were “hotlined” to the Children's Division, and Children's Division staff interviewed Appellants ... regarding the allegations.

Id. at 453. As part of the hotline investigation, Rhonda Schilli, a child services worker, interviewed the Appellants at their home in September 2010. Schilli and her supervisor, Jennifer Washam, interviewed C.P.S. in December 2010. C.P.S. recorded both interviews.

Based on those interviews, on March 30, 2011, the Jackson County Juvenile Officer filed a petition alleging that K.S.W. is without the proper care, custody, or support necessary for his well being and is subject to the jurisdiction of the juvenile court, pursuant to section 211.031.1. That statute grants the juvenile court “exclusive original jurisdiction” in proceedings “[i]nvolving any child or person seventeen years of age ... alleged to be in need of care and treatment” because his parents have failed to provide the care and support necessary for his well-being, or he is “otherwise without proper care, custody or support.” § 211.031.1(1). On that same day, the circuit court ordered that K.S.W. be placed in the care and custody of the Children's Division.3 The Juvenile Officer's petition alleged specifically that:

454 S.W.3d 425
1. The child is without proper care, custody or support necessary for his well being and is subject to jurisdiction pursuant to 211.031.1 RSMo in that his parents, D.B.W. and C.P.S., neglect him.
2. The child has a history of sexual abuse and has exhibited sexualized behaviors both prior and subsequent to his adoption, at the age of eleven, by C.P.S. and D.B.W. The child is also diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder.
3. Despite the parents' knowledge of the child's history and behaviors:
(a.) The parents admitted to Children's Division staff that since the child's adoption, they have engaged in “cuddle time” with the child in the parents' shared bed at times when both parents were naked and covered with only a sheet or a blanket.
(b.) On or about December 16, 2010, C.P.S. admitted to Children's Division staff that, on more than one instance during “cuddle time” with the child, [C.P.S.]'s penis was erect.
(c.) On or about December 16, 2010, C.P.S. admitted to Children's Division staff that during the brief time in 2009 after the child's discharge from Ozanam but before the child's placement in Woodward Academy's Sex Offender Program, C.P.S. took the child on a biking trip on the Katy Trail, during which trip [C.P.S.] and the child slept naked in the same bed together two nights during the trip and on one of those nights, C.P.S. engaged in “cuddle time” with the child while he and the child were naked.
(d.) D.B.W. knew or should have known of C.P.S.'s above referenced behaviors with the child and failed or refused to protect the child from C.P.S.
4. The child is at risk of further harm or neglect absent the intervention of this Court.

As stated, the cause was originally presented to the juvenile court over several days in 2011 and 2012. On September 21, 2012, the court sustained the Juvenile Officer's petition. The Parents appealed, and this Court reversed and remanded for a rehearing on the basis that the circuit court considered and relied upon prejudicial evidence that was outside of and irrelevant to the allegations in the petition. K.S. W., 412 S.W.3d at 454–55.

On remand, Appellants successfully moved for a change of judge, and a different Commissioner conducted a new adjudication hearing on March 19 and 21, 2014. At the rehearing, Rhonda Schilli testified about her interview with the Parents on September 24, 2010. Both Schilli and Jennifer Washam testified about the December 16, 2010 interview with C.P.S. The Juvenile Officer presented the recordings and transcripts of those interviews. The Juvenile Officer also introduced portions of the transcript of Dr. Sally D. Popper's4 testimony from the first trial. Both Appellants testified, and they introduced

454 S.W.3d 426

transcript designations from Dr. Popper's prior testimony.

Following the conclusion of the adjudication hearing, the circuit court entered its “Order and Judgment” on March 28, 2014....

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1 practice notes
  • Smith v. McAdams, WD 77449
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • February 17, 2015
    ...and Respondent's relationship and the passage of time since their cohabitation, Appellant needed to establish only that she had resided 454 S.W.3d 422with Respondent in the past in order to prove Respondent was a former household member.To that end, the circuit court expressly found that Ap......
1 cases
  • Smith v. McAdams, WD 77449
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • February 17, 2015
    ...and Respondent's relationship and the passage of time since their cohabitation, Appellant needed to establish only that she had resided 454 S.W.3d 422with Respondent in the past in order to prove Respondent was a former household member.To that end, the circuit court expressly found that Ap......

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