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In Re C.E.*Fn1 et al., Persons Coming Under the Juvenile Court v. J.M. et al

October 22, 2012

IN RE C.E.*FN1 ET AL., PERSONS COMING UNDER THE JUVENILE COURT LAW. SACRAMENTO COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
J.M. ET AL., DEFENDANTS AND APPELLANTS.



(Super. Ct. Nos. JD231537, JD231538)

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

In re C.E.

CA3

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED

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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

COPY

The parents of two minors appeal from the juvenile court's orders terminating their parental rights and freeing the minors for adoption. (Welf. & Inst. Code, §§ 366.26, 395.)*fn2 They contend their parental rights were terminated without the requisite finding -- by clear and convincing evidence -- of parental unfitness.*fn3 Father further contends that the failure to apply the constitutionally required burden of proof was not harmless because the record shows that his interactions with the minors may have been non-sexual demonstrations of affection, rather than sexual abuse. We conclude that parents' claim of error is meritless and affirm.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

After both parents were arrested and charged with various child sexual molestation and pornography offenses, section 300 petitions were filed on behalf of the minors, C.E. (male, age 10 months) and P.E. (female, age three years nine months). The petitions alleged father had sexually abused both minors and mother had taken photographs of father's sexual acts with C.E. and had failed to protect the minors.

The allegations regarding C.E. stemmed from photographs that were intercepted in mail mother sent to the maternal uncle, who was incarcerated in state prison, and photos found at the family home. Two of the photos sent to the maternal uncle depicted C.E. naked, with father putting his mouth over C.E.'s anus and genital area and touching his anus. Of the photos later found at the family home, two depicted C.E. lying naked and father touching C.E.'s genitals. Four photos depicted father with his face between C.E.'s legs; one of those photos showed the father's mouth covering C.E.'s genitals and anal area. Some of the photos found at the home were duplicative of the photos sent to the maternal uncle.

Mother admitted to police investigators that she took the photos and mailed them to her brother in prison. She said father was only playing with C.E. and denied that father ever kissed C.E.'s private parts. Father told police investigators that he tickled C.E.'s legs with his goatee and said the only time he touched the minors' private parts was when he was changing their diapers.

Later, father told a social worker that he did kiss C.E.'s "huevitos" (little eggs/balls) and saw nothing wrong with it. He stated it was innocent and he had no bad intentions. It was tradition. Mother told the social worker that it is a custom in El Salvador for a father to "kiss their little boy's parts when they are born."

During a medical examination, P.E. told the doctor that she had seen father orally copulate C.E. P.E. told her foster mother that she played the "making love game with daddy." When asked about the game, she replied, "We're ladies, we don't talk about it." She said mother also played the game sometimes. P.E. also said father used to "eat her bread every day." The foster mother said P.E. referred to her genital area as "bread." P.E. asked the foster mother not to say anything, because father had told her the police would take him away. During a later forensic interview, P.E. said that father tickled her mouth with his "picquito" (little beak) and identified a penis on an anatomical drawing as a "picquito."

Father is a sex offender registrant. He was convicted in Oregon in 1995 of second degree sexual abuse, the victim purportedly ...


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