IN THE INTEREST OF A.W. and A.W., Minor Children, J.W., Father, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Colin J. Witt,
District Associate Judge.
father appeals a juvenile court order terminating his
parental rights to two daughters. AFFIRMED.
Randall L. Jackson of Law Office of Randall L. Jackson, Des
Moines, for appellant father.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kathryn K. Lang, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
E. Mayfield of Youth Law Center, Des Moines, guardian ad
litem for minor children.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and Tabor,
father, Jesse, appeals the juvenile court order terminating
his parental rights to two daughters, four-year-old Ale.W.
and six-year-old Ali.W. He contends the State did not present
clear and convincing evidence of a ground for termination
under Iowa Code section 232.116(1) (2017) and termination was
not necessary because the girls remained in the custody of
their mother. Because in confirming removal from the father,
the juvenile court made factual findings that Jesse sexually
abused his older daughter, we conclude sufficient evidence
supports termination of his parental rights to both children
under paragraphs (d) and (j). Moreover, given Jesse's
criminal conduct, the mother's continuing custody does
not justify preserving his parental rights.
Facts and Prior Proceedings
Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) first became involved
with this family in December 2016 following allegations Jesse
sexually abused his older daughter, Ali.W. In January 2017,
the juvenile court affirmed removal of both daughters from
Jesse's custody and placed them with their mother, where
they have remained throughout these proceedings. The court
adjudicated the children in need of assistance (CINA) under
Iowa Code section 232.2(6).
reached a founded child-abuse assessment against Jesse. The
report concluded the allegations of sexual abuse-specifically
sexual abuse in the second degree, lascivious acts with a
child, and incest-were founded based on Ali.W.'s reports
that Jesse perpetrated numerous sex acts against her,
including placing his penis in her vagina and touching her
vagina with his finger. The investigation also led to
criminal charges. Jesse entered an Alford
to assault with intent to commit sexual abuse causing injury
and received an indeterminate five-year prison sentence. Upon
release he will register as a sex offender. The district
court entered a no-contact order (NCO) between Jesse and
January 2018, the juvenile court held a hearing on the
State's petition to terminate Jesse's parental
rights. The State cited paragraphs (d), (j), and (m) for both
girls and paragraph (f) for Ali.W. The court found clear and
convincing evidence to terminate Jesse's parental rights
to both children under paragraph (d) and to Ali.W. under
paragraph (f). The court did not rule on paragraphs (j) and
(m). Jesse appeals.