IN THE INTEREST OF K.D., Minor Child, C.D., Mother, Appellant, J.D., Father, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Page County, Amy Zacharias,
mother and father separately appeal from the juvenile
court's adjudicatory and dispositional orders in a
Kenneth Whitacre, Glenwood, for appellant mother.
M. Dale, Council Bluffs, for appellant father.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Mary A. Triick, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
R. Wyatt of Woods & Wyatt, PLLC, Glenwood, attorney and
guardian ad litem for minor child.
Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Mullins and May, JJ.
mother and father separately appeal the juvenile court's
adjudicatory and dispositional orders in a
child-in-need-of-assistance (CINA) proceeding. The father
argues the State failed to provide clear and convincing
evidence to support a finding the child was a victim of
sexual abuse. The mother asserts the State failed to
provide clear and convincing evidence to support the
sexual-abuse finding. The mother wholly failed to provide any
argument or analysis in support of her assertion; we deem her
argument waived. Iowa R. App. P. 6.903(2)(g)(3).
family came to the attention of the Iowa Department of Human
Services (DHS) upon a report of sexual abuse in August
2018. A friend of the child alleged she and the
child, then eight and seven years old, were sexually abused
by the child's half-sibling. The friend alleged the abuse
took place in multiple locations and the children were abused
together. The child has never corroborated the accusation,
and the parents have continually argued they do not believe
the child was abused. In her forensic interview, the child
admitted one instance of accidental touching, in which the
half-sibling "accidentally kind of bumped into" the
child's buttock. But when questioned about whether the
half-sibling had ever attempted to touch the child
inappropriately, the child said the half-sibling tried to
touch her, but she [did not] let him, and that she
"always tried to stop him." The half-sibling
underwent a psychosexual evaluation, after which the examiner
opined the half-sibling required "intensive treatment in
a residential facility as a victim of sexual abuse and
possibly as a perpetrator of sexual abuse."
April 2019, the child was adjudicated a CINA pursuant to Iowa
Code section 232.2(6)(d) (2018),  and the court entered a
no-contact order barring interaction between the child and
her half-sibling until his successful completion of
sex-offender treatment. The court found the child was
sexually abused by the half-sibling. The juvenile court
relied on DHS and forensic interviews of both the child and
her friend. The court described a shift in the child's
demeanor during the forensic interview, from happy and
conversational to covering her face with her hands and
answering only with short phrases or nods. Although the child
described one instance of accidental touching, the court
noted she appeared to be afraid to disclose anything more.
The court found the statements of the child's friend do
"not come out of an eight-year-old's mouth unless
[the abuse] actually occurred." The court further found
the child's friend "knew WAY too much about these
sexual topics to be making up this story."
dispositional hearing in May the court continued the CINA
adjudication and no-contact order and expressed concern for
the parents' desire to have the half-sibling return to
the family home. The parents had, however, complied with the
requirements of the court and DHS. The court reiterated that
treatment must occur before any contact will be initiated.
proceedings are reviewed de novo. In re J.S., 846
N.W.2d 36, 40 (Iowa 2014). "We are not bound by the
juvenile court's fact findings; however, we do give them
weight." Id. (citation omitted). The
child's best interests are our paramount concern.
appeal the father argues the State failed to prove the child
had been sexually abused by clear and convincing evidence and
that the court erred in entering a no-contact order. The
State bears the burden of proving a ground for adjudication
by clear and convincing evidence. Iowa Code § 232.96(2);
In re L.H., 904 N.W.2d 145, 149 (Iowa 2017).
Evidence is clear and convincing when it leaves "no
serious or substantial doubts as to the ...