from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Mark D. Cleve,
Sarr appeals a final domestic abuse protective order.
C. Jasper, Bettendorf, for appellant.
Jennifer Wilkerson of Iowa Legal Aid, Sioux City, for
Considered by Bower, C.J., and Vaitheswaran and Doyle, JJ.
Sarr appeals a final domestic abuse protective order issued
pursuant to Iowa Code chapter 236 (2019). Sarr and Fama
Diakhoumpa are a separated couple with a minor child born in
2016. The couple married in 2013 in Dakar, Senegal, and moved
to Iowa in December 2015.
party alleges the other committed domestic abuse against them
multiple times during the marriage. On February 21, 2019,
Sarr filed for a protective order against Diakhoumpa,
alleging she had cut him and threatened to bring guys to
"take care of" him. On March 4, Diakhoumpa filed
for a protective order against Sarr, alleging on February 8
Sarr had beaten her, choked her, and threatened to kill her.
March 27, the court held a hearing on the two petitions for
protective orders. After hearing testimony from both Sarr and
Diakhoumpa, the court found by a preponderance of evidence
that Sarr committed domestic abuse against Diakhoumpa and
represented a credible threat to her safety. The court issued
a one-year protective order for Diakhoumpa against Sarr and
granted her temporary custody of their child. The court
dismissed Sarr's temporary protective order against
Diakhoumpa. Sarr appeals Diakhoumpa's protective order.
Standard of Review.
236 proceedings are heard in equity. See Conklin v.
Conklin, 586 N.W.2d 703, 705 (Iowa 1998). We review
equity cases de novo. Iowa R. App. P. 6.907. Under de novo
review, "we rely on the trial court's assessment of
the witnesses' credibility." Conklin, 586
N.W.2d at 706. A plaintiff must prove an allegation of
domestic abuse by a preponderance of the evidence. Iowa Code
claims Diahkoumpa failed to prove by a preponderance of
evidence that he committed a domestic assault upon her. In
her petition for relief from domestic abuse, Diakhoumpa
described an incident from February 8, 2019, alleging Sarr
beat her and threatened to kill her. She did not fill out a
section of the petition describing "any other injuries
or threats" in the past but then discussed prior
incidents at the hearing. Sarr argues he was given no notice
Diahkoumpa intended to focus on prior incidents of domestic
abuse. He also contends Diahkoumpa has not established the
fear element of assault, asserting the delay between the
February 8 incident and Diakhoumpa filing her petition for
relief from domestic abuse on March 4 disproves she feared
hearing, Diakhoumpa testified that on February 8, Sarr yelled
at her about a transaction on her bank account and started
hitting her when she would not answer. He then choked her and
threatened to kill her. Diakhoumpa also testified regarding
prior unreported incidents of domestic violence where Sarr
struck her and she introduced photos relating to those