In the Matter of: Christina Marie Olson on behalf of A. C. O. and N. P. O., petitioner, Respondent,
Bradley Charles Olson, Appellant.
Earth County District Court File No. 07-FA-16-3248
Christina Marie Olson, Mankato, Minnesota (pro se
Steven Messick, J. Scott Braden, P.A., Faribault, Minnesota
Considered and decided by Halbrooks, Presiding Judge; Cleary,
Chief Judge; and Jesson, Judge.
the Minnesota Domestic Abuse Act, when a district court holds
a hearing on a petition and affidavit for an order for
protection pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 518B.01, subds. 5,
7 (2016), the district court errs by basing its finding of
domestic abuse solely on inadmissible hearsay statements in
the petition and affidavit.
CLEARY, Chief Judge.
Bradley Charles Olson challenges a district court's grant
of an order for protection (OFP) arguing that the OFP is
based on inadmissible hearsay allegations contained in
respondent-mother Christina Marie Olson's petition and
affidavit for an OFP. Because a finding of domestic abuse
following a contested hearing must be made on admissible
evidence, we reverse and remand.
August 17, 2016, respondent filed a petition and affidavit
for an OFP on behalf of her minor children, A.C.O. and
N.P.O., then ages ten and eight, respectively, against
appellant. In her petition and affidavit, respondent alleged
that her children started crying when she told them they were
going to appellant's house and that A.C.O.
"hyperventilated." Respondent also alleged in her
petition and affidavit that, in early August 2016, she took
A.C.O. and N.P.O. to see a therapist, and that respondent
told the therapist that A.C.O. was upset about going to
appellant's house. According to respondent's petition
and affidavit, the therapist asked respondent to go to the
waiting room and, after the session, the therapist told
respondent that her children should not go to appellant's
house because he did not understand the children's issues
and that the children's mental health was being affected.
Respondent also stated in her petition and affidavit that at
an August 10, 2016 therapy session, A.C.O. told the therapist
and respondent that appellant slaps N.P.O. across the face
and tells N.P.O. and A.C.O. that if they tell respondent
there will be "severe consequences."
regard to previous abuse, respondent stated in her petition
and affidavit that she reported to child-protection services
in March 2016 that N.P.O. complained that appellant had
slapped N.P.O.'s face. Respondent stated that
child-protection services did not become involved because
there were no marks from the slap. Respondent also alleged in
her petition and affidavit that appellant once spanked A.C.O.
when A.C.O. was a baby, and that appellant initially lied
about the incident. Respondent checked the box on the form
petition indicating that she believed domestic violence would
continue and that she and her children were in immediate
August 2016, the district court issued an emergency ex parte
OFP against appellant, with A.C.O. and N.P.O. as the
protected persons. At the request of appellant, and pursuant
to Minn. Stat. § 518B.01, subds. 5, 7 (2016), the
district court held a domestic abuse hearing in September
appeared pro se at the hearing. Appellant, through his
attorney, requested that the ex parte OFP be dismissed,
arguing there were "no instances of domestic abuse which
is required by statute, " and that the allegations
contained in the petition and affidavit are "hearsay,
irrelevant and don't meet the standards of domestic
hearing, the district court asked respondent,
"[A]nything that you want to add other than what's
already in the record based upon your Petition?"
Respondent replied that she wanted the OFP to stay in place
due to the emotional distress that appellant allegedly
inflicted on A.C.O. and N.P.O. Respondent presented a letter
from the children's therapist, and appellant objected on
hearsay grounds. The district court ruled that the letter was
inadmissible because the therapist was not ...