IN THE MATTER OF BROOKE T. JEFFERSON COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES, PETITIONER-RESPONDENT; JUSTIN T., RESPONDENT-APPELLANT.
SALVATORE F. LANZA, FULTON, FOR RESPONDENT-APPELLANT.
KRISTOPHER STEVENS, WATERTOWN, FOR PETITIONER-RESPONDENT.
YOUNG, ATTORNEY FOR THE CHILD, LOWVILLE.
PRESENT: WHALEN, P.J., PERADOTTO, DEJOSEPH, NEMOYER, AND
from an order of the Family Court, Jefferson County (Peter A.
Schwerzmann, A.J.), entered March 28, 2016 in a proceeding
pursuant to Family Court Act article 10. The order, among
other things, adjudged that respondent had severely abused
the subject child.
hereby ORDERED that the order so appealed from is unanimously
affirmed without costs.
In this proceeding pursuant to Family Court Act article 10,
respondent father appeals from an order that, among other
things, adjudicated the subject child severely abused on the
ground that the father committed felony sex offenses against
her (see §§ 1012 [e] [iii] [A]; 1051 [e];
Social Services Law § 384-b  [a] [ii]).
to the father's contention, we conclude that Family
Court's finding that the child is a severely abused child
is supported by clear and convincing evidence (see Matter
of Chelsey B. [Michael W.], 89 A.D.3d 1499, 1499-1500
[4th Dept 2011], lv denied 18 N.Y.3d 807');">18 N.Y.3d 807 ;
see also Family Ct Act §§ 1046 [b] [ii];
1051 [e]; Social Services Law § 384-b  [d]). "It
is axiomatic that the determination of Family Court is
entitled to great weight and should not be disturbed unless
clearly unsupported by the record" (Chelsey B.,
89 A.D.3d at 1500 [internal quotation marks omitted]), and
here the court's determination is supported by the
record. Petitioner proved by clear and convincing evidence
that the father committed felony sex offenses against the
child in violation of Penal Law §§ 130.50 (3) and
130.65 (3) (see Social Services Law § 384-b 
[a] [ii]). Contrary to the father's contention, the
child's disclosures of sexual abuse were sufficiently
corroborated by, among other things, the testimony of
validation experts, a school psychologist, investigators, and
the child's counselor, as well as the child's
age-inappropriate knowledge of sexual matters (see
Family Ct Act § 1046 [a] [vi]; Matter of Breanna
R., 61 A.D.3d 1338, 1340 [4th Dept 2009]). Furthermore,
the child gave multiple, consistent descriptions of the abuse
and, "[a]lthough repetition of an accusation by a child
does not corroborate the child's prior account of
[abuse]..., the consistency of the child['s] out-of-court
statements describing [the] sexual conduct enhances the
reliability of those out-of-court statements"
(Matter of Nicholas J.R. [Jamie L.R.], 83 A.D.3d
1490, 1490-1491 [4th Dept 2011], lv denied 17 N.Y.3d
708  [internal quotation marks omitted]).
reject the father's further contention that petitioner
was required to show diligent efforts to encourage and
strengthen the parental relationship in order to establish
severe abuse. Family Court Act § 1051 (e) was amended
prior to the filing of the petition in this matter such that
"a diligent efforts' finding is no longer a required
element of a finding of severe abuse in the context of a
Family Court Act article 10 proceeding" (Matter of
Amirah L. [Candice J.], 118 A.D.3d 792, 794 [2d Dept
2014]; see § 1051 [e], as amended by L 2013, ch
430, § 1; Matter of Mason F. [Katlin G.-Louis
F.], 141 A.D.3d 764, 765 n 5 [3d Dept 2016], lv
denied 28 N.Y.3d 905');">28 N.Y.3d 905 ; cf. Matter of Dashawn
W. [Antoine N.], 21 N.Y.3d 36, 50-54 ).
reject the father's contention that he was denied
effective assistance of counsel. Contrary to the father's
contention, "the failure to call particular witnesses
does not necessarily constitute ineffective assistance of
counsel-particularly where[, as here, ] the record fails to
reflect that the desired testimony would have been
favorable" (Matter of Pfalzer v Pfalzer, 150
A.D.3d 1705, 1706 [4th Dept 2017], lv denied 29
N.Y.3d 918  [internal quotation marks omitted]). In
addition, the father's claim that he was denied effective
assistance of counsel by his attorney's failure to retain
and call a second psychologist "is impermissibly based
on speculation, i.e., that favorable evidence could and
should have been offered on his behalf' "
(Matter of Amodea D. [Jason D.], 112 A.D.3d 1367,
1368 [4th Dept 2013]; see Matter of Destiny C. [Goliath
C.], 127 A.D.3d 1510, 1513-1514 [3d Dept 2015], lv
denied25 N.Y.3d 911');">25 N.Y.3d 911 ). Finally, with respect to
the father's remaining claims of ineffective assistance
of counsel, we conclude that the ...