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Family Court

In this criminal case, the Court consider whether there is sufficient evidence to support a finding that the subject children are neglected pursuant to article 10 of the Family Court Act.

A New York Criminal attorney said that In October 2007, respondent father pleaded guilty to rape in the second degree, engaging in sexual intercourse with a person less than 15 years of age, and patronizing a prostitute in the third degree, which at the time of his conviction was defined as patronizing a prostitute less than 17 years of age. He was sentenced to one year imprisonment, and was released on time served. The court adjudicated father a level three sex offender under the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA), but he was never ordered to attend any sex offender treatment. Father returned home, where he lived with his wife and their five children, then between the ages of four and 14.

In November 2007, the Dutchess County Department of Social Services (DSS) filed neglect petitions pursuant to Family Court Act article 10 against both parents. As relevant here, the petitions alleged that father neglected the children because he was an “untreated” sex offender whose crimes involved victims between 13 and 15 years old 1. Mother allegedly “failed to protect the children” from father. DSS sought to have the children adjudicated neglected, both parents ordered into a sex offender relapse intervention program, and a temporary order of protection issued against father on the children’s behalf.

The Father testified that he “pled guilty to whatever his lawyer told him to plead guilty to,” and recalled that, during his plea colloquy, he had affirmed that he committed the crimes. He explained that the indictment had alleged that he patronized a prostitute “between 2000 and 2004,” when she was 15 to 19, but testified that he first met the victim in 2003, when she was 18. Father claimed that when he was asked during his plea colloquy “whether he engaged in sexual acts with her between 2000 and 2004 he said yes meaning… when she was 18 or 19.”
With respect to the second degree rape conviction, father refused to comment on whether he had sexual relations with someone below the age of consent, exercising his Fifth Amendment right. Family Court permitted him not to answer, but drew a “negative inference… that the victim was under the age of consent.” Father further testified that, other than the events resulting in his conviction, he had never had “intercourse with an underage woman.” He acknowledged that he was a level three sex offender under SORA, and had never received sex offender treatment.

The Mother testified that she had “no personal knowledge” of father’s crimes, beyond knowing what he had pleaded to, and had not inquired into the details. She did not think father was a risk to their children because “he has never engaged in any behavior that would create a risk to his children.” Other witnesses included the eldest child and a school resource officer. DSS proffered father’s certificate of conviction, but no additional evidence was submitted regarding the facts underlying the conviction.

The Family Court concluded that both parents neglected their children. It found that father’s behavior created a substantial risk of harm to the children because he is a convicted level three sex offender, and therefore “pose[s] a risk of harm to the public at large.” His testimony, in the court’s view, demonstrated a “lack of candor, a shortage of insight into his own behavior and obvious attempts to avoid responsibility for the illegal acts involving minors.” Moreover, the court saw father’s “failure to address any issues in counseling as demonstrating an ‘impaired level of parental judgment as to create a substantial risk of harm'”. The court’s finding that mother had neglected the children was based on her “failure to inquire into the details of the father’s illegal conduct and her decision to gauge the children’s safety by her knowledge of the father.”

Both parents appealed the finding of neglect.

Committing a sexual act against one’s child should not be tolerated; the offender parent should be punished accordingly. Here in Stephen Bilkis and Associates, we will help those helpless abused individual to enforce their rights in Court through our Bronx County Sexual Abuse lawyers. In case of rape cases, we also have New York Rape attorneys who will give their advice to you upon hearing your predicaments. We will make it a point that the offenders should be held liable with their acts. Call us now.

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