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Doe v. Iowa Department of Human Services

Court of Appeals of Iowa

May 3, 2017

JOHN DOE, Petitioner-Appellant,
v.
IOWA DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES, Respondent-Appellee.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Sioux County, Jeffrey L. Poulson, Judge.

         The appellant seeks review of the finding he committed child abuse and the placement of his name on the child abuse registry.

          Zachary S. Hindman of Mayne, Arneson, Hindman, Hisey & Daane, Sioux City, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and David M. Van Compernolle, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Considered by Mullins, P.J., McDonald, J., and Goodhue, S.J. [*]

          GOODHUE, Senior Judge.

         John Doe[1] appeals from the district court decision upholding a ruling entered by the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) finding Doe committed child abuse and placing his name on the Iowa Child Abuse Registry.

         I. Facts and Proceedings

         Doe came to the attention of the DHS when a fourteen-year-old child claimed Doe had sexually abused her in December 2013. During an interview with a DHS child protective worker, the child reported two separate incidents of inappropriate contact between herself and Doe. The first occurred outside of the United States. During that incident, the child was operating a four-wheel vehicle when Doe-who was sitting behind her-stated she had nice breasts, pressed his private part against her back or buttocks, and touched her breasts. Both were fully clothed at the time. During the second instance, which occurred in Iowa, Doe chased the child to a bed, held her down, and tried to separate her legs. During a forensic interview, the child substantiated what she had told the DHS worker but added that Doe asked her to touch his "private part" during one of the events. Doe denied any sexual abuse had occurred.

         On December 16, 2014, the DHS issued a child protective assessment summary confirming that Doe had committed sexual abuse in the third degree, and it placed Doe's name on the child abuse registry. At the DHS worker's request, the State filed a child in need of assistance (CINA) petition based on the allegations of sexual abuse by Doe and her mother's failure to protect the child. The parties stipulated to the CINA adjudication at the February 6, 2015 adjudicatory hearing.

         On February 7, 2015, Doe appealed the DHS's finding he committed child abuse and the placement of his name on the child abuse registry. The DHS later changed the child protective service assessment summary to confirm Doe committed sexual abuse, lascivious acts with a child, but listed the allegation of third-degree sexual abuse as "not confirmed." Based on the finding Doe committed sexual abuse, lascivious acts with a child, Doe's name remained on the child abuse registry.

         An administrative law judge (ALJ) heard Doe's appeal of the DHS action on July 7, 2015. In the proposed decision, the ALJ affirmed the placement of Doe's name on the child abuse registry. Doe requested a review, and on review, the DHS adopted the ALJ's proposed decision.

         Doe filed a petition for judicial review, and the district court affirmed the decision of the DHS. Doe has appealed contending: (1) the DHS lacks subject matter jurisdiction to investigate the incident that occurred outside the country, (2) there is insufficient evidence to support the finding that Doe was the child's caretaker at the time of either of the alleged incidents, and (3) there is insufficient evidence to support the finding that Doe committed sexual abuse.

         II. ...


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