State of Utah, in the interest of A.C., a person under eighteen years of age.
State of Utah, Appellee. K.C., Appellant,
District Juvenile Court, Farmington Department The Honorable
Janice L. Frost No. 1139124
B. Richards, Attorney for Appellant.
D. Reyes, Carol L.C. Verdoia, and John M. Peterson, Attorneys
Pierce, Guardian ad Litem
Judges J. Frederic Voros Jr., Stephen L. Roth, and David N.
K.C. (Mother) appeals the March 23, 2017 "findings,
conclusions and dispositional order" entered on the
State's amended petition for protective supervision.
Specifically, Mother appeals that part of the order
substantiating the Division of Child and Family Services'
(DCFS) supported finding that Mother failed to protect A.C.
from sexual abuse by Mother's boyfriend. We affirm.
Mother neither admitted nor denied the allegations of the
amended petition. Accordingly, the juvenile court deemed the
factual allegations to be true. See Utah R. Juv. P.
34(e) ("Allegations not specifically denied by a
respondent shall be deemed true."). The juvenile court
found that Mother's boyfriend was a registered sex
offender who sexually abused a twelve-year-old girl in
January 2004, and that he was convicted of rape of a child, a
first degree felony, and sentenced to six years to life in
prison. The juvenile court found that Mother was aware of her
boyfriend's criminal history and aware that he was a
registered sex offender. "Knowing and having reason to
know about her boyfriend's sex abuse history, [Mother]
allowed her child and [her boyfriend] to have contact with
each other and reside together." While Mother and A.C.
resided with Mother's boyfriend, the boyfriend sexually
abused A.C. In an interview with law enforcement, A.C. said
that the boyfriend and A.C. showered together nude. A.C. also
told law enforcement that the boyfriend threatened that she
would be grounded if she did not shower with him. A.C.
described an incident where the boyfriend digitally
penetrated her vagina while they were resting in bed
The following additional factual findings are relevant to
Mother's claims in this appeal. In 2012, prior to getting
into a relationship with the boyfriend, Mother met with the
boyfriend's counselor and got permission to start dating
him. Prior to being released from his counseling, the
boyfriend passed a polygraph test and a PPG. After dating for
two years, Mother and her children moved in with the
boyfriend. Parole officers continued to supervise the
boyfriend and came in to check on the family until August
2016 when he was released from parole. Mother signed a form
with the boyfriend's parole officer "indicating that
it was appropriate for the boyfriend and her daughter to have
contact with each other." After DCFS initiated a child
welfare investigation of suspected abuse, Mother signed a
safety plan that included requirements that Mother and A.C.
would not reside with Mother's boyfriend, and that Mother
would not allow contact between the boyfriend and A.C. Mother
and the child thereafter moved in with Mother's parents.
The juvenile court's "review findings, conclusions,
and order" of March 21, 2017, addressed the
substantiation issue that had been under advisement at the
adjudication hearing. In that order, the juvenile court found
that Mother's "actions in allowing a live-in
relationship with the known sex offender was not reasonable
or prudent because [Mother] placed her child in a position of
being sexually abused." The court also found, "It
was not reasonable for [Mother] to have her child reside with
a known sex offender, " and "was likely not
reasonable for [Mother] not to have ensured that her
boyfriend would only have supervised contact . . . with the
child." Finally, Mother's "actions were not
reasonable in preventing sexual abuse and her failure to act
reasonably caused her child to be sexually abused by her
boyfriend." The juvenile court found in the March 21,
2017 order that the boyfriend sexually abused A.C. and that
Mother neglected A.C. by failing to protect the child. In the
subsequent dispositional order entered on March 23, 2017, the
juvenile court found, "by a preponderance of the
evidence that the supported findings of [DCFS] are
substantiated and includes the finding in its order, within
the meaning of Utah Code Ann. § 78A-6-323 and
Utah Code section 78A-6-323 states, in relevant part:
(1) Upon the filing with the court of a petition under
Section 78A-6-304 by the Division of Child and Family
Services or any interested person informing the court, among
other things, that the division has made a supported finding
that a person committed a severe type of child abuse or
neglect as defined in Section 62A-4a-1002, the court shall:
(a) make a finding of substantiated, unsubstantiated, or
(b) include the finding described in Subsection (1)(a) in a