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In Re C.Q. et al., Persons Coming Under the Juvenile Court v. C.Q


October 12, 2011


(Super. Ct. Nos. JD230765, JD230766)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hoch , J.

In re C.Q.



California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Appellant C.Q., Sr. (father), the father of the minors A.A. and C.Q., appeals the juvenile court's orders finding jurisdiction over the minors under Welfare and Institutions Code section 300,*fn1 subdivisions (b) (failure to protect), (d) (sexual abuse), and (j) (abuse of sibling), and the dispositional orders made by the court. (§§ 395, 300.) Father does not contest the juvenile court's orders regarding A.A. Father contends there is insufficient evidence to support the jurisdictional findings as to C.Q. regarding sexual abuse. We dismiss the appeal as to A.A. and affirm the judgment as to C.Q.


In June 2010, a social worker for the Sacramento County Department of Health and Human services (Department) and a Sacramento police officer visited the minors' home in response to allegations father molested three-year-old A.A. A.A. told a social worker, "My daddy hurts my no-no," and identified her genitals as her "no-no." Playing with a toy during the interview, A.A. pulled the top of her pull-up, pointed down towards her genitals, and said father put the toy "down here and it hurts my no-no." After the interview, father said, "my daughter is always complaining about her no-no hurting, that's why I don't clean her, I just dip her in the tub."

An inspection of the home revealed it was covered in dirty clothes; other dirty items were all over the floor, with roaches and other insects infesting the living room, kitchen, and bedrooms. The kitchen sink and counters were stacked with dirty dishes and rotting food. In the restroom, the toilet was broken, the seating part was placed against the wall, and feces and blood were smeared on the walls and floors. The food in the refrigerator was infested with ants and other insects. The parents were unwilling to open their locked bedroom door, while the minors' room was filthy, with dirty clothes, trash, and insects throughout. Both minors had head lice.

The minors were placed in protective custody, and the Department filed dependency petitions alleging jurisdiction pursuant to section 300, subdivisions (b), (d), and (j). The minors were detained later that month.

The mother denied almost all of the allegations. Father said the home was "not bad," and, unable to afford fumigation, he was using Black Flag and Hotspot in the kitchen and living room. Father declined to comment on the molestation allegations on the advice of his attorney.

Father told the social worker he was accused of orally copulating and fondling a six-year-old neighbor when he was 11. He was in therapy between the ages of 11 and 15, until his therapist indicated he was not making any progress. When he was 13, father was arrested for lewd and lascivious conduct with a child under the age of 14. (Pen. Code, § 288, subd. (a).) At the age of 17, he was sent to a group home for sexual offenders. Until father had children, he stayed away from children to prevent a relapse. Father has no adult criminal record.

A.A.'s physical exam was difficult to complete because the child was uncooperative. During the exam, A.A. kept saying, "be gentle with me" and "don't hurt me." The nurse was unable to use the "woods lamp" to detect dry moist secretion stains or foreign material on A.A. because she was afraid of the dark. The examining nurse could neither confirm nor negate sexual abuse.

In an interview, A.A. said, "Nobody has ever hurt me. Nobody has ever touched me somewhere I should not be touched." She told the interviewer no one touched her private area, and she would tell her father if she was touched there. Staff at the Children's Receiving Home reported A.A. displayed inappropriate boundaries with other children and adults.

With regard to the condition of the home, a social worker visited the home the month after the first inspection. The living room was moderately clean, but the front yard was covered with piles of junk. The walls were dirty with what appeared to be remnants of smashed flies and cockroaches. Cockroaches were crawling on the floor, counter, and walls of the kitchen, and out the crack of the refrigerator when the door was opened.

Following a contested jurisdictional hearing, the juvenile court amended the petitions, replacing allegations that A.A. was sexually abused by father with allegations that there was a substantial risk A.A. would be sexually abused because of father's history of sexual abuse and A.A.'s allegations that he sexually abused her. The juvenile court sustained the petitions as amended. At the disposition hearing, the juvenile court continued the minors' removal with visitation for the parents and ordered services.


Father contends there was insufficient evidence for the juvenile court to sustain allegations that C.Q. was at risk of being sexually abused by him.

The juvenile court sustained three allegations in C.Q.'s petition related to sexual abuse: (1) allegation d-1, that there was substantial risk C.Q. will be sexually abused because there was a substantial risk father will sexually abuse A.A.; (2) allegation j-1, there was a substantial risk his sibling A.A. would be sexually abused; and (3) allegation b-2, the parents failed to provide adequate care, supervision, and protection of C.Q. because A.A. was at substantial risk of sexual abuse. In addition, the juvenile court sustained allegation b-1, the parents failed to provide adequate care, protection, and shelter for C.Q. because of their filthy and unsanitary home.

Father challenges the juvenile court's findings on the b-2, j-1, and d-1 sexual abuse allegations, but does not challenge the b-1 finding. One statutory basis is sufficient to affirm the juvenile court's jurisdictional orders.

"When a dependency petition alleges multiple grounds for its assertion that a minor comes within the dependency court's jurisdiction, a reviewing court can affirm the juvenile court's finding of jurisdiction over the minor if any one of the statutory bases for jurisdiction that are enumerated in the petition is supported by substantial evidence. In such a case, the reviewing court need not consider whether any or all of the other alleged statutory grounds for jurisdiction are supported by the evidence. [Citations.]" (In re Alexis E. (2009) 171 Cal.App.4th 438, 451; see also In re Andy G. (2010) 183 Cal.App.4th 1405, 1415, fn. 6; In re Jonathan B. (1992) 5 Cal.App.4th 873; In re Tracy Z. (1987) 195 Cal.App.3d 107, 112-113.)

Father asserts that even though the sexual abuse allegations are moot, this court should address his claims on appeal. Father notes that appellate courts will consider moot claims in dependency matters if the appellant is prejudiced by the decision. Father argues that if the sexual abuse allegations are allowed to stand, they may form all or part of the basis of future rulings against him by the juvenile court.

Father cites two cases to support his argument that this court should change the jurisdictional findings because they could lead to a change in dispositional orders. Both cases are inapposite. In re Joel H. (1993) 19 Cal.App.4th 1185 involved a minor placed with a relative. (Id. at p. 1189.) The juvenile court determined, based on insufficient evidence, that the relative and her husband had abused the minor and entered an order permanently barring the relative from custody. (Id. at p. 1192.) Although the juvenile court terminated its dependency jurisdiction over the minor and returned the minor to his mother's custody, the appellate court found that, given the family history, the relative's appeal was not moot because it was possible that the minor could again become the subject of dependency proceedings. The order removing the minor from the relative's custody would have res judicata effect and would prevent the relative from serving as custodian in the future. (Id. at p. 1193.)

In In re J.K. (2009) 174 Cal.App.4th 1426, the juvenile court sustained jurisdictional allegations, issued a family law order awarding the mother full legal and physical custody of the minor with visitation for the father, and then terminated dependency jurisdiction. (Id. at p. 1431.) The appellate court allowed the father to attack the jurisdictional findings on appeal because they had an adverse effect on his custody rights, and could influence subsequent dependency proceedings with regard to the minor or the father's other children. (Id. at pp. 1431-1432.)

Father did not object to the dispositional orders in this case. His claim that the juvenile court's findings may influence some future dependency proceeding is vague and speculative. Even if we considered and reversed the juvenile court's findings on the sexual abuse allegations as to C.Q., the sexual abuse allegations as to A.A. remain unchallenged. Joel H. and J.K. involved terminated dependency actions and relied on identified prejudice to the appellant to justify addressing the moot claims, i.e., permanent bar from serving as a custodian if minor was removed again from mother's custody and custody rights in a family law matter. Here, father failed to identify prejudice in the ongoing dependency action or some future potential dependency action. In light of father's acceptance of the jurisdictional orders for A.A. and C.Q. and the removal of the minors from the parents' care, we decline to address a moot claim on the basis that it may prevent the possibility of some unknown, future prejudice to father in an ongoing dependency action.

With regard to C.Q., father does not challenge the b-1 finding or the dispositional orders. As we decline father's plea to address his moot claims, there is no need to address the sufficiency of the evidence challenge to the juvenile court's findings on the sexual abuse allegations.


The appeal is dismissed as to A.A. The judgment is affirmed as to C.Q.

We concur: RAYE , P. J. HULL , J.

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