December 6, 2013 By Paul Wallin

It’s been a contentious issue in juvenile court dependency cases for years: Does the fact that a parent was convicted of child molestation of an unrelated child automatically mean that the parent’s own children are at risk for the same abuse?

A California Court of Appeal recently ruled that a juvenile court applied an incorrect standard in finding father’s sons were at substantial risk of being molested by their father solely because he molested an unrelated nine-year-old girl.

The Court’s Ruling

convicted of child molestation
The California court recently ruled that if you are convicted of child molestation of an unrelated child, you are not necessarily a threat to your children.

The California Supreme Court previously ruled that prolonged and serious sexual abuse of a female child may provide substantial evidence that male children are also at risk because such abuse constitutes “a fundamental betrayal of the appropriate relationship between the generations” and an abandonment and contravention of the parental role. But the Supreme Court also ruled that not all sexual abuse fits this description.

In key language, the court indicated as follows: “We are mindful of the juvenile court’s duty to focus on ‘ensur[ing] the safety, protection, and physical and emotional well-being of children who are at risk’ of sexual abuse. But we do not think the Legislature or Supreme Court would go so far as to say that sexual abuse of one child necessarily constitutes evidence that a child of the opposite gender is also at substantial risk of being sexually abused.”

How it Impacts You if You were Convicted of Child Molestation

Due to the Court of Appeal’s ruling in this case, the father’s children, who had never been abused or harmed in any way, were not only released to him, but the petition filed by Child Protective Services was also ordered dismissed. A strong message was sent to Child Protective Services that children must be evaluated on an individual basis to determine whether any risk of harm is presented by a parent.

Call Wallin & Klarich Today

The skilled Southern California family law attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience handling juvenile dependency cases and family law matters. Our dedicated team of attorneys is ready to help you with your case.

Call us today at (888) 749-7428 or fill out our contact form online so we can begin to help you. We will get through this together.

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