Before the court was a criminal case involving an abuse of a child. It was alleged that the father committed, or allowed to be committed, a sex offense upon said child. The father failed to provide said child with proper supervision or guardianship, and said child’s physical, mental and emotional condition has been impaired or in danger of becoming impaired as a result of the failure of the father to exercise a minimum degree of care.
The child revealed that her father made her feel uncomfortable when he would rub lotion on her under her pajamas. The father did not rub or touch her vagina, but would rub and touch above the vagina. The father also made the child uncomfortable when he whistled at her, slapped her butt, placed his head on her chest when he hugged her and attempted to kiss her with an open mouth. The child stated that the incidents occurred when she visited him from about when she was six years old until she was about ten years old. The father would drink alcohol to intoxication and when he would drink, he would attempt to kiss the child with an open mouth. The mother of the child received an order of protection against the father after the child disclosed the incidents to her.
During the proceedings, it was clear from the testimonies that the parents of the child were divorced. The custody of the child was awarded to the mother, while the father had the right to visit the child every other weekend and one additional day during the week. During the marriage, there was a history of domestic violence as well as arrests. The father was arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI), where he afterwards underwent therapy.
Later on, the child texted her father expressing a desire to live with him rather than her mother. After questioning her as to what prompted such request, she reported to him that her mother had frequent anxiety attacks and was keeping her awake late at night.
It was later revealed that the father would make the child sleep in bed with him. While in bed, the father would caress the child’s back underneath her clothes. The father has walked in the room when the child has been naked. The child was also given with alcohol. The father would even watch pornography in the child’s presence.
According to the law, sexual contact refers to any touching of the sexual or other intimate parts of a person not married to the one who makes it for the purpose of gratifying sexual desire of either party. It includes the touching of the actor by the victim, as well as the touching of the victim by the maker, whether directly or through clothing.
The child’s disclosure were motivated by her strong desire to remain with her new friends. She distorted her father’s behaviors and used them to manipulate her living arrangement. The child had a history of lying and difficulty distinguishing between reality and fantasy. The child’s testimony was inconsistent and not wholly credible. The father testified that they shared a good relationship with the child. The latter even admitted that she sometimes had fun with her father and brother during her visitation with her father.
In light of the child’s history of lying, her motivation to maintain her living arrangement and her difficulty in distinguishing between fantasy and reality, the court cannot make a finding of sexual abuse. It has not been established that any of such acts were committed for the sexual gratification of either the child or her father.
The fact that the father was convicted of driving under intoxication (DUI), did not establish that he was intoxicated every weekend, nor does it establish that he sexually abused his daughter.
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