In the Matter of the Welfare of the Child of: K. L. W., Parent.
Hennepin County District Court File No. 27-JV-17-5309
F. Moriarty, Fourth District Public Defender, David W.
Merchant, Assistant Public Defender, Minneapolis, Minnesota
(for appellant father K.L.W.)
Michael O. Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, Mary M. Lynch,
Senior Assistant County Attorney, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for
Kimberly T. Walker, St. Louis Park, Minnesota (for respondent
mother J.A.C.) Michael Tepoorten, Juvenile Justice Center,
Minneapolis, Minnesota (guardian ad litem)
Considered and decided by Hooten, Presiding Judge; Reyes,
Judge; and Cochran, Judge.
the egregious-harm statute, Minn. Stat. § 260C.301,
subd. 1(b)(6) (2018), "a child" is "in the
parent's care" when he or she is under the
supervision, charge, or watchful oversight of the person
subject to the termination proceeding.
challenges the termination of his parental rights, arguing
that he did not egregiously harm his child, he is not
palpably unfit to parent his child, and termination is not in
his child's best interests. We affirm.
K.L.W. is the father of a child born in January 2012. J.C. is
the mother of the child. The child's parents never
married and their relationship was "very casual."
After J.C. purchased a home, appellant moved in with the
child and her in May 2012. The three lived together until
November 2013, when J.C. had appellant evicted from the home.
Following the eviction, appellant continued to visit the
child. At first, he visited a few times per week. Because the
child is autistic, has a speech delay, and is on an
individualized education program at school, appellant's
visits were changed to weekends so as to not disrupt the
child's schedule. Ultimately, appellant visited the child
approximately every other Sunday.
in 2017, the Hennepin County Department of Social Services
opened an investigation after receiving a report alleging
inadequate supervision of the child by J.C. A
child-protection investigator was assigned to the case. And
in the course of her investigation, she discovered a criminal
case against appellant that raised concerns about "his
ability to protect and care for the child just based off of
concerns about recidivism."
criminal case involved allegations that appellant sexually
abused his cousin's daughter, M.B. The abuse occurred
over a period of time spanning from May 2007 (when M.B. was
nine years old) until September 2011. Appellant was charged
with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and
two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. Two of
the charges were for criminal sexual conduct with a
complainant under 13 years of age. The other two charges were
for sexual abuse involving multiple acts committed over an
extended period of time.
went to trial and was acquitted of the charges involving
abuse committed over an extended period of time. It appears
from the record that the jury was unable to reach a verdict
on the remaining charges, and the case was set for another
trial. Appellant ultimately entered an Alford plea
to the second-degree charge for sexual contact with someone
under the age of 13, and the remaining first-degree charge
was dismissed.Appellant received a stay of adjudication
and a 25-year probation sentence.
its investigation, Hennepin County filed a petition to
terminate appellant's parental rights to his child in
November 2017. Appellant opposed the petition, and a court
trial was held in May 2018. M.B., M.B.'s mother, the
child protection investigator, J.C., appellant, and
appellant's probation officer testified at trial. The
district court terminated appellant's parental rights
under Minn. Stat. § 260C.301, subd. ...