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Dept. of Human Services v. B.B.

248 Or App 715

March 14, 2012

Marion County

Summary

Parents appealed the trial court's ruling of jurisdiction on the basis that father, though a sex offender, was not a threat of harm to his children and that mother exposed her children to and failed to protect them from an untreated sex offender. The trial court found that DHS has proved that father had a history of inappropriate sexual contact with minors, that he was untreated and considered that he had viewed child pornography in 1998. In addition, because of the findings regarding father, the court found that mother exposed her children to an unsafe individual and failed to protect them from that individual. Even though no party requested it, the court exercised de novo review. The court dismissed the trial court's findings because they did not indicated a current threat of harm to the children, ages 11, 9 and 4. The court noted that there was no evidence that father had abused his or any other children for 16 years nor was there evidence that he had sexual contact with his or any other children for the 16 years since his conviction. The court further stated that the allegation against mother was derivative from the allegations against father and thus, because the court determined that the trial court's ruling was erroneous with regard to father also rejected their ruling as to mother.

DISSENT

Contending that de novo review was inappropriate in this case, the dissent found that there was a preponderance of evidence that father was a current threat of harm to his children. The dissent acknowledged that a considerable amount of time had passed since his last offense, but found that the time was outweighed by the remainder of the record. "The record includes evidence that father has an extensive history of sexual abuse; that he failed to complete a sex offender program (after again viewing child pornography); that he was unable to appreciate the nature of his conduct; and that he had a tendency to place blame elsewhere."

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