Articles Posted in Child Abuse & Neglect

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On June 20, 2011, the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) filed a petition against respondent mother alleging that she derivatively severely abused the subject child by committing reckless or intentional acts that evinced a depraved indifference to human life and caused serious physical injury to the subject child’s five-year-old sibling Jamar resulting in his death.

The subject child under the age of eighteen whose parent subjected the child to reckless or intentional acts committed under circumstances evincing a depraved indifference to human life, which resulted in serious physical injury to the child as defined in subdivision ten of section 10.00 of the penal law:

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This termination of parental rights (TPR) proceeding was brought pursuant to Social Service Law (SSL) section 384–b by Petitioner against respondent in connection to her child, age four. The petition, filed August 24, 2009, seeks to terminate the parental rights of RM on the grounds of mental illness.1 The Court held a fact finding hearing on September 22, 2010, October 18, 2010, December 21, 2010, January 18, 2011, January 20, 2011, January 21, 2011, February 4, 2011, March 4, 2011 and April 26, 2011. On June 27, 2011, counsel delivered oral summations with supplemental written summations submitted to the Court on July 8, 2011.

The petitioner presented the testimony of one (1) witness: a qualified expert in the field of clinical psychology. Respondent presented the testimony of two (2) witnesses: a qualified expert in the field of forensic psychology, and RM who testified on her own behalf. Petitioner also submitted for judicial notice the following court orders, decisions and documents/photographs, in connection with the underlying child protective proceeding and prior termination of parental rights proceeding brought against RM as to her child, who was freed for adoption by order dated June 24, 2008.

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The matter before the court is a Motion filed by counsel for the Respondent for an Order pursuant to the provisions of Sections 100.15, 100.20, 100.30 and 100.40 of the Criminal Procedure Law, dismissing the petition for failure to state a cause of action. The original petition herein was filed by a Nassau County Detective assigned to the Juvenile Aid Bureau of the Nassau County Police Department.

The Respondent contends that since the petition was not verified in the manner prescribed by Section 100.30 of the Criminal Procedure Law and since the statement of the complainant which supports the petition was not verified as required by Section 100.20 of the Criminal Procedure Law, the petition must be dismissed.

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In a proceeding pursuant to article 6 of the Family Court Act, to adjudicate SX a permanently neglected child, and to commit him to the custody and guardianship of the Commissioner of the Nassau County Department of Social Services (DSS), the natural mother, MY, appeals from an order of disposition of the Family Court, Nassau County, entered September 16, 1983, which directed that the guardianship and custody of SX be committed to the Commissioner of the DSS on condition that the child be adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Z.

The subject of this proceeding is SX, born August 30, 1970. SX has a brother, GX, born December 4, 1967, a sister, JX, born September 20, 1971, a stepbrother, W, born May 30, 1974, and a stepsister, E, born June 26, 1975. SX’s mother is MX, who, after being divorced from SX;s father, remarried and became known as MY (the appellant).

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In this probate proceeding objections were filed and a jury demanded by respondents. A motion is now made by them to dismiss the petition before any trial on the merits upon the ground that the decedent was not a (domiciliary) resident of Nassau County at her death on February 14, 1977 as specified in SCPA 206, subd. 1. They request that the proceeding be forwarded to New York County as the “proper county of residence” and also for the convenience of witnesses.

In support of the motion there have been filed affidavits of respondents’ attorney and of respondent, along with copies of affidavits and exhibits which had been previously submitted to this court in connection with an application to revoke letters testamentary which had been issued to the proponent here on the estate of this decedent’s husband, who died on May 26, 1975. In opposition to the motion various other facts are asserted to sustain proponent’s claim that Nassau County was the domiciliary residence of decedent and both attorneys have submitted memoranda in support of their respective positions. The court has examined them and will discuss below the various facts alleged by both sides.

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The Grievance Committee for the Tenth Judicial District (hereinafter the Grievance Committee) served the respondent with a petition dated August 23, 2007, containing nine charges of professional misconduct. After a preliminary conference the Special Referee sustained charges one through six but found that charges seven through nine had not been established by a fair preponderance of the credible evidence. The Grievance Committee now moves to confirm the Special Referee’s report. The respondent cross-moves to confirm the Special Referee’s report with respect to charges seven, eight, and nine and to disaffirm with respect to charges two, four, five, and six.

A charge one alleges that the respondent allowed his professional judgment on behalf of his clients to be affected by his own financial, business, property, or personal interests in that during the course of his representation of two clients (hereinafter the clients) in a child neglect matter pending in Family Court, he had the clients convey title to their home to him in order to prevent a foreclosure sale of the property and, thereafter, sought to evict them while continuing to represent them in the Family Court matter, in violation of Code of Professional Responsibility.

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In this neglect proceeding commenced by the Nassau County Department of Social Services alleging, in essence, that a child now 15 1/2 years old had been sexually abused by the respondent, her adoptive father, for a period of approximately four (4) years prior to April 10, 1989, respondent moves for an order dismissing the petition and an award of counsel fees. A brief summary of the events leading to this motion is appropriate.

On August 30, 1989, respondent entered a general denial and the matter was set down for trial on October 30, 1989. In companion matters the Court issued temporary orders of protection removing respondent from the home and providing for supervised visitation. The amended petition in these companion matters alleges inter alia respondent’s tendency toward sadistic sexual practice as well as bestiality.

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On February 23, 2007, the Commissioner of the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (the Commissioner or ACS) filed related petitions under article 10 of the Family Court Act against respondents AN. and RB with respect to the four children who resided with them: five-month old J., five-year old JS N., five-year old D B., and two-year old DW. AN and RB are J’s parents, while AN is JS’s father and RB is the mother of D and DW. ACS had carried out an emergency removal pursuant to Family Court Act § 1024 the previous day, after social workers at Bellevue Hospital Center reported suspected child abuse to the Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment.

The petitions in these child protective proceedings alleged that J, whom AN brought to Bellevue on the evening of February 21, 2007 – hours after he claimed that the baby screamed in a way unlike ever before – had been admitted with a “shifted and fractured collar-bone with swelling”; and that, upon further examination, hospital personnel discovered four partially healed fractured ribs. The petitions also asserted that AN “inflicted excessive corporal punishment” on JS by hitting him with a “black wire,” thereby causing “excessive welts to his body”; and that RB failed to intervene to protect him. The Commissioner sought orders determining, upon clear and convincing evidence, that these four children were severely or repeatedly abused, and, upon a preponderance of the evidence, that they were victims of abuse and neglect.

At the conclusion of the hearing, Family Court determined that AN and RB abused J “in that, while in the care of AN and RB, the child sustained fractures of the clavicle and of the left 4-7 ribs and AN and RB have not offered any credible explanation for any of these injuries and that they neglected and derivatively abused JS, and derivatively abused and neglected DW and D.

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On three related proceedings, inter alia, for modification of child support and maintenance obligations, the petitioner husband appeals (1) from an order of the Family Court, Nassau County (Ryan, J.), entered December 20, 1988, which denied his objections to so much of an order of the same court (O’Shea, H.E.), dated September 19, 1988, as dismissed his application to increase the wife’s child support obligation, (2) from an order of the Family Court, Nassau County (Joseph, J.), entered May 18, 1989, which denied his objections to an order of the same court (Watson, H.E.), dated March 16, 1989, dismissing his application to reduce his maintenance obligation, and (3) as limited by his brief, from so much of an order of the Family Court, Nassau County (Joseph, J.), entered June 8, 1989, as denied his application to (a) vacate an income execution served on his employer, (b) adjudge the wife’s employer to be in contempt, and (c) vacate the order entered December 20, 1988.

The parties settled their divorce action on July 22, 1983, by entering into a stipulation which was incorporated in but did [167 A.D.2d 541] not merge with their judgment of divorce (see, Harkavy v. Harkavy, 167 A.D.2d 510, 562 N.Y.S.2d 182 [decided herewith]. The stipulation provided for the wife, at that time a full-time homemaker, to be the custodial parent of the parties’ two children. The parties further agreed that their assets, including the marital residence, would be essentially split evenly, and that the husband would pay child support as well as $100 per week maintenance.

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The subject child was born on February 10, 2004 with a positive toxicology for opiates. This father is listed on her birth certificate. The subject child remained in the hospital for over a month due to withdrawal symptoms. When she was released from the hospital on March 17, 2004, the Administration for Children’s Services (hereinafter ACS) conducted an emergency removal, and thereafter, she was remanded to ACS, subsequent to, and pending, the resolution of the neglect petition ACS filed against her mother and father on March 19, 2004. On April 16, 2004, she began to reside with her current no kinship foster parents.

At the time the subject child was born, both her mother and father were using street methadone and heroin. ACS’s neglect petition alleges neglect by virtue of their substance abuse as well as the mother’s mental illness. The subject child’s parents were not married at the time she was born or subsequently. An order of filiation was entered on May 11, 2004 upon the request and consent of her parents, because at that time the agency and parents did not have a copy of her birth certificate in order to know whether the father had established his paternity. Based on the parents’ admissions and consent, a finding of abuse and neglect was entered against both parents on May 11, 2004. While this father was incarcerated, the court ordered him to be produced telephonically from prison in order that he could participate in all proceedings, including the permanency hearings. Upon consent, the court issued an order of disposition placing the child with the Commissioner of ACS on September 7, 2004.

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