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In re Isabelle C. (Anonymous)

Supreme Court of New York, Second Department

January 8, 2020

In the Matter of Isabelle C. (Anonymous). Suffolk County Department of Social Services, respondent; Jarred B. (Anonymous), appellant. (Proceeding No. 1) In the Matter of Caitlynn H. (Anonymous). Suffolk County Department of Social Services, respondent; Jarred B. (Anonymous), appellant. (Proceeding No. 2) In the Matter of Matthew H. (Anonymous). Suffolk County Department of Social Services, respondent; Jarred B. (Anonymous), appellant. (Proceeding No. 3) In the Matter of Liam H. (Anonymous). Suffolk County Department of Social Services, respondent; Jarred B. (Anonymous), appellant. (Proceeding No. 4) In the Matter of Jocelynn B. (Anonymous). Suffolk County Department of Social Services, respondent; Jarred B. (Anonymous), appellant. (Proceeding No. 5) In the Matter of Justin B. (Anonymous). Suffolk County Department of Social Services, respondent; Jarred B. (Anonymous), appellant. (Proceeding No. 6) Docket Nos. N-8331-16, N-8332-16, N-8333-16, N-8344-16, N-8345-16, N-8351-16

          Submitted - November 21, 2019

         D61704 T/afa

          Arza Feldman, Uniondale, NY (Steven A. Feldman of counsel), for appellant.

          Dennis M. Brown, County Attorney, Central Islip, NY (Jennifer L. Basile of counsel), for respondent.

          Anneris M. Pena, East Setauket, NY, attorney for the children.

          REINALDO E. RIVERA, J.P. JOSEPH J. MALTESE FRANCESCA E. CONNOLLY VALERIE BRATHWAITE NELSON, JJ.

          DECISION & ORDER

         In related proceedings pursuant to Family Court Act article 10, Jarred B. appeals from (1)an order of the Family Court, Suffolk County (Bernard Cheng, J.), dated August 13, 2018, and (2) an amended order of fact-finding and disposition of the same court dated November 13, 2018. The order, insofar as appealed from, granted that branch of the petitioner's motion which was for summary judgment determining that Jarred B. derivatively neglected the children Caitlynn H., Matthew H., Liam H., Jocelyn B., and Justin B. based upon his abuse of the child Isabelle C. The amended order of fact-finding and disposition, insofar as appealed from, upon the order, found that Jarred B. derivatively neglected the children Caitlynn H., Matthew H., Liam H., Jocelynn B., and Justin B.

         ORDERED that the appeal from the order is dismissed, without costs or disbursements, as it was superseded by the amended order of fact-finding and disposition; and it is further, ORDERED that the amended order of fact-finding and disposition is affirmed insofar as appealed from, without costs or disbursements.

         On May 31, 2016, the petitioner commenced these proceedings pursuant to Family Court Act article 10, alleging, inter alia, that Jarred B. (hereinafter the appellant) sexually abused and neglected his stepdaughters, Isabelle C. and Caitlynn H., and derivatively neglected his stepsons, Matthew H. and Liam H., and his biological children, Jocelynn B. and Justin B. Subsequently, the appellant pleaded guilty in criminal court, inter alia, to endangering the welfare of a child. Specifically, he admitted that between January 1, 2013, and January 31, 2013, at the address which was the family's home, he knowingly acted in a manner that was likely to be injurious to the physical, mental, or moral welfare of a child less than 17 years old by touching the intimate parts of the child Isabelle C.

         Following the appellant's criminal conviction, the petitioner moved for summary judgment determining that the appellant abused Isabelle C. and derivatively neglected the other children. The Family Court granted the motion for summary judgment, and subsequently entered an amended order of fact-finding and disposition, inter alia, finding that the appellant derivatively neglected the other children.

         We agree with the Family Court's determination granting that branch of the petitioner's motion which was for summary judgment determining that the appellant derivatively neglected the children Caitlynn H., Matthew H., Liam H., Jocelynn B., and Justin B. The focus of the inquiry to determine whether a parent derivatively neglected a child (see Family Ct Act § 1046[a][1]) "is whether the evidence of abuse or neglect of one child indicates a fundamental defect in the parent's understanding of the duties of parenthood. Such flawed notions of parental responsibility are generally reliable indicators that a parent who has abused one child will place his or her other children at substantial risk of harm" (Matter of Dutchess County Dept. of Social Servs. v Douglas E., 191 A.D.2d 694, 694 [citations omitted]; see Matter of Annalise L. [Jalise P.], 170 A.D.3d 835, 836; Matter of William N. [Kimberly H.], 118 A.D.3d 703, 706).

         In support of its motion, the petitioner made a prima facie showing of a fundamental defect in the appellant's understanding of the duties of parenthood and such an impaired level of judgment as to create a substantial risk of harm for any child in his care (see Matter of Sebastian R. [Debra S.], 171 A.D.3d 928, 929; Matter of Cashmere T. [Andrew S.], 161 A.D.3d 1177, 1179; Matter of Taurice M. [Gregory A.], 147 A.D.3d 844, 845; Matter of Angel R. [Syheid R.], 136 A.D.3d 1041, 1042). The ...


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