STATE OF LOUISIANA IN THE INTEREST OF S.K STATE OF LOUISIANA IN THE INTEREST OF S.K.
FROM JUVENILE COURT ORLEANS PARISH NO. 2016-145-05-MS-A,
SECTION “A” Honorable Ernestine S. Gray, Judge
Katherine M. Dowling STATE OF LOUISIANA Department of
Children and Family Services, COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE, STATE OF
Craig Stern KILLEEN & STERN, PC, COUNSEL FOR
Madeleine M. Landrieu, Judge Marion F. Edwards, Pro Tempore
Madeleine M. Landrieu
appeals the juvenile court's denial of her motion to
correct the central registry maintained by the Department of
Children and Family Services ("the Department").
For the reasons that follow, we reverse.
AND PROCEEDINGS BELOW
616 of the Louisiana Children's Code provides that the
Department "shall maintain a central registry of all
reports of abuse and neglect." In February, 2016, the
Department received a "referral" concerning S.K., a
teacher at a day care facility. A subsequent investigation
conducted by the Department validated a finding of
"sexual exploitation, pornography" against S.K.
This finding was based upon the Department learning that S.K.
had taken a cell phone photograph of a four-year-old male
student while he was masturbating under a blanket at nap
time, and had texted the photograph to her co-teacher, who
was in the teacher's lounge on a break. S.K. acknowledged
having taken the photograph but explained that she took it
and sent it to her co-teacher seeking direction from her
co-teacher as to how to handle the situation. S.K. further
explained that it was impossible to tell what the child was
doing from looking at the photograph.
an investigation by the Department, the validated finding of
"sexual exploitation, pornography" against S.K. was
recorded in the Department's central
registry. Objecting to that finding, S.K. filed a
motion to correct the registry in juvenile court pursuant to
Louisiana Children's Code article 616.1, which provides,
in pertinent part:
A. When a report alleging abuse or neglect is recorded as
justified by the department in the central registry but when
no petition is subsequently filed alleging that the child is
in need of care, the individual who is the subject of the
finding may file a written motion seeking correction of that
entry and all related department records in the court
exercising juvenile jurisdiction in the parish in which the
finding was made.
B. Prior to the hearing, the motion shall be served on the
department and the district attorney.
C. If neither the department nor the district attorney files
a written objection, the court may enter an order in
accordance with Paragraph
D .If after a contradictory hearing with the department and
the district attorney the court finds that the report was not
justified, in accordance with Article 615(B)(4) or (5), and
correction of the record is not contrary to the best interest
of the child, it may order the department to correct the
central registry entry. If the central registry entry is
ordered to be corrected, the department and any law
enforcement offices having any record of the report shall be
ordered to correct those records and any other records,
notations, or references thereto, and the court shall order
the department and other custodians of such records to file a
sworn affidavit to the effect that their records have been
corrected. The affidavit of the department shall also attest
to the correction of the central registry entry.
juvenile court heard the motion on August 4, 2016, and denied
it from the bench, signing a written judgment to that effect
the same day. S.K. filed both the instant appeal and a writ
application challenging the trial court's ruling, which
have been consolidated in this court. As the ...