Saturday, March 17, 2012

Oregon court reverses removal of children from father, a former "predatory sex offender"

The Court of Appeals of Oregon has reversed a decision to take children away from their parents because the father had sexually abused children and viewed child pornography in the past. The evidence did not support a finding of likely harm to the children. Dep't of Human Servs. v. B.B. (In re K.B.), 274 P.3d 242 (2012).

The father physically and sexually abused children in the past and was sexually abused as a child himself. In 1994, he went to prison for abusing two children. He was considered a "predatory sex offender" and occasionally attended treatment, but it was never completed. He also viewed child pornography on at least two occasions in 1998. There have been no known relevant events since that time, and the couple now has four children.

DHS took the children from the couple because of the father's history of child abuse. However, DHS was required to prove "current risk of harm" rather than simply past conduct. The court found that because no sexual abuse had occurred in over a decade, and it was possible the father was in remission, no current risk was shown. The children had also been taken from the mother because she was "endangering the children" by letting them be around the father, and the court reversed that decision in light of the findings regarding the father.

A dissent suggested that the father had not been sufficiently treated for his condition.

(I do realize this is not exactly a cybercrime case, but I'm assuming this issue comes up occasionally dealing entirely with past child pornography crimes. Also, there haven't been many great cases recently so I'm a little desperate.)


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