(Super. Ct. Nos. JD230151, JD230152, JD230153)
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Nicholson , J.
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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.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 father, W.M., appeals from jurisdictional/ dispositional orders wherein he was denied reunification services with his three biological children because appellant repeatedly raped his stepdaughter, their stepsister, over a four-year period. Appellant contends the juvenile court erred in allowing his stepdaughter, Z.H., to testify at the dispositional hearing outside of his presence. We find there was sufficient evidence to support the juvenile court's decision.
Appellant further contends there is insufficient evidence he raped his stepdaughter, and even if he did that does not mean his own biological children are in danger. Thus, he argues the juvenile court erred in asserting dependency jurisdiction over, and denying him reunification services with, his biological children. We find there is sufficient evidence to support these decisions as well. Accordingly, we affirm the juvenile court's orders.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Appellant and mother have been married for 10 years. Appellant has three biological children with mother: S.M. (born in May 2008), N.M. (born in July 2006), and Sa.M. (born in Jan. 2003). Mother has three other children, to whom appellant is a stepfather: Z.H. (born in Aug. 1995), S.E. (born in Jan. 1997), and S.A. (born in Aug. 1998).
On September 9, 2009, then 14-year-old Z.H., told her teacher, Olivia A., that appellant had been raping her twice a week since she was 10 years old. Z.H. explained that appellant would take mother to work in the morning, then rape Z.H. in the parents' bedroom when he returned.
Two days later, Z.H. gave the same report to police: appellant had been raping her approximately twice a week since she was 10 years old. Z.H. detailed how appellant would use code words, rub her fingers, or send her text messages when he wanted to abuse her. She described how he would sometimes text her or say to her, "Come do my finger." Z.H. also said appellant would check her cell phone to ensure she had erased his text messages.
Z.H. told the police she was last raped by appellant on August 30, 2009. She told police appellant made her sleep in the parents' bedroom while her friends slept in her room. She said that after appellant drove mother to work the next morning he raped Z.H. in his bedroom by putting his penis in her vagina. When asked, Z.H. explained that appellant did not ejaculate inside her, but next to her on the bed.
Other than her friend "Camil," Z.H. had not previously disclosed the abuse to anyone. She had, however, told Camil about the abuse more than one year prior to reporting the abuse to Olivia. The police took all six children into protective custody that same day and referred the matter to the Department of Health and Human Services (the Department) the following day.
The police spoke with Camil, who confirmed that approximately one year before Z.H. reported the abuse to her teacher, Z.H. told Camil that appellant was regularly raping her. Camil also said Z.H. reported that she had a baby as a result of the abuse.
The older siblings, six-year-old Sa.M. (appellant's biological child), 11-year-old S.A., and 12-year-old S.E., all denied being sexually abused by appellant. They did report that appellant, a "UFC fighter," would give them rewards, such as candy or cell phones, when they rubbed or pulled on his injured fingers and toes and squeezed a "ball" on his injured upper thigh.
S.E., then 12 years old, remembered that appellant would talk to Z.H. alone in her bedroom with the door closed. S.E. described appellant as mean and strong, indicating she was afraid of him. S.E. was surprised Z.H. had not told her about the abuse, but burst into tears when the police told her what Z.H. had reported. S.E. also said appellant regularly took away the children's privileges as a form of discipline, including their cell phones and iPods.
S.A., then 11 years old, described appellant as "just a normal dad." She acknowledged that mother worked out of the home and was at work "all the time." She did not, however, believe that appellant raped Z.H. and said he never hurt her. She also indicated that appellant ...