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In re K.H.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

May 17, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF K.H. and T.H., Minor Children, K.H., Father, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Plymouth County, Robert J. Dull, District Associate Judge.

         A father appeals the adjudication of his child as a child in need of assistance. AFFIRMED.

          John S. Moeller of John S. Moeller, P.C., Sioux City, for appellant father.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Mary A. Triick, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Meret Thali of the Juvenile Law Center, Sioux City, for minor children.

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Potterfield and Bower, JJ.

          DANILSON, Chief Judge.

         A father appeals the adjudication of his child, T.H., as a child in need of assistance (CINA) pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(d) (2016). The father asserts the juvenile court erred in determining T.H. was sexually abused, and therefore, argues adjudication is improper. Because the record supports adjudication under section 232.2(6)(d), we affirm the judgment of the juvenile court.

         The father and mother have three children B.H., who is nineteen; T.H., who is thirteen; and K.H., who is twelve. The father and mother have been divorced for eleven years. Pursuant to the dissolution decree, the father had physical care of T.H. and K.H. However, in July 2016, the mother assumed physical care of T.H. and K.H. due to allegations B.H. was sexually abusing T.H. and K.H., the children told the father what was occurring, and he did not act to prevent further abuse.

         Both children were interviewed at the Child Advocacy Center in July of 2016. K.H. reported specific incidents of sexual abuse by B.H. beginning when K.H. was ten or eleven years old and occurring as recently as one month prior to the interview. T.H. reported that T.H. was not sexually abused by B.H. However, T.H. stated B.H. had attempted to pull down her pants or force her into his bedroom on a number of occasions from the time she was about eight years old. K.H. and T.H. both stated they told the father about the incidents of abuse and the father told them he would speak to B.H. However, the children reported it did not appear the father addressed the problem with B.H. because the incidents of abuse or attempted abuse continued to occur.

         A CINA petition was filed September 14, 2016, and an adjudication hearing was held December 20, 2016. On December 28, 2016, the juvenile court entered an order adjudicating both children as CINA pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(d). The father now appeals with respect to T.H.

         Our review of CINA cases is de novo. In re D.D., 653 N.W.2d 359, 361 (Iowa 2002). "We are not bound by the juvenile court's factual findings, but give them weight, especially when credibility is at issue." Id. "Our primary concern is the children's best interests." In re J.S., 846 N.W.2d 36, 40 (Iowa 2014).

         Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(d) provides that a child "[w]ho has been, or is imminently likely to be, sexually abused by the child's parent, guardian, custodian, or other member of the household in which the child resides" is a CINA.

         The father argues that adjudication under section 232.2(6)(d) is improper as to T.H. because T.H. did not report being sexually abused by B.H. However, application of section 232.2(6)(d) is proper where the child has not been sexually abused but abuse is imminently likely. See D.D., 653 N.W.2d at 362; see also In re K.H., No. 15-0396, 2015 WL 2394198, at *2 (Iowa Ct. App. May 20, 2015) ("[W]e find it fair to draw the inference that since K.H. was abused by the father, then A.H. and S.H. are 'imminently ...


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