STATE OF LOUISIANA IN THE INTEREST OF S.G., D.G., A.G.
Appealed from the Fourth Judicial District Court for the
Parish of Morehouse, Louisiana Trial Court No. JD 11-49
Honorable Sharon Marchman, Judge
VARHONDA EUGENIA BURRELL Counsel for Appellant, Mother
COURTNEY W. FRANKLIN Counsel for Appellee, State of Louisiana
LOWERY LAW FIRM By: Scotty Wayne Lowery Counsel for Minor
Children, S.G., D.G., and A.G.
D. JONES Counsel for Appellee, Father of D.G. and S.G.
MOORE, GARRETT, and THOMPSON, JJ.
mother of SG, DG, and AG, appeals from a trial court judgment
terminating her parental rights and freeing the children for
adoption. For the following reasons, we affirm the trial
January 11, 2017, 12-year-old SG told a teacher and counselor
at her school that she wanted to kill herself because her
stepfather, CG, had been touching her inappropriately,
including "putting his thing in her crotch." The
latest incident occurred the night before, and SG had not
bathed or changed clothes. SG also said that her mother and
stepfather physically abused her, as well as her brother, DG,
who was 13, and her younger sister, AG, who was three. SG
reported that her mother and stepfather beat her with a belt.
She showed the teacher bruises on her right hand and right
upper thigh. She said her stepfather slapped her and dragged
her by her hair. SG said that her brother, DG, gets punched
in the face when he does something wrong and AG gets
"whippings on her butt."
Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services
("DCFS") was contacted and a worker was sent to the
school to interview SG and DG. The mother was summoned to the
school and informed of the allegations. She laughed and
stated that SG was lying. The mother was instructed that SG
needed to go to the hospital for an examination and to have a
rape kit completed. She told SG, "I hope it hurts, when
they are all in your stuff." The DCFS worker offered to
take them to the hospital, but the mother refused.
mother took SG home and the DCFS worker went to the home to
make contact with CG. He denied touching SG and refused to
allow the DCFS worker to come into the house. He stated that
the mother and SG were not at home. When the DCFS worker
insisted, CG allowed her inside, where she encountered the
mother and SG. The mother told the worker that she instructed
SG not to change clothes, but she did so anyway. The mother
denied that SG had bathed. When the DCFS worker informed the
mother that SG still needed to go to the hospital, CG, the
mother, and the children got into their vehicle. The DCFS
worker informed the mother that, due to the accusations, SG
should not be around CG. The worker transported the mother
and SG to the hospital. According to the worker, the mother
was on her cellphone with CG almost constantly.
hospital, SG told the nurse that her mother washed her in
accordance with CG's instructions. SG told the nurse that
CG told the mother "to make sure that she washes her
good." The DCFS worker questioned the mother, who then
admitted that SG had bathed, but denied telling her to do so.
trial court issued an oral instanter order on January 11,
2017, followed by a written order on January 12, 2017,
removing the children from the home based upon the affidavit
of the DCFS worker setting forth the facts stated above.
three children were initially placed in the same foster home.
At a hearing on January 20, 2017, the children were continued
in state custody. A court appointed special advocate
("CASA") volunteer was assigned to the case.
February 16, 2017, the state filed a petition to declare the
children to be children in need of care ("CINC").
The petition was filed against the mother, CG, and KS, the
biological father of DG and SG. The state alleged passive
sexual abuse by the mother, in that she observed possible
sexual abuse of SG by CG, and yet left the children in his
care, that she interfered with the investigation by having SG
bathe before going to the hospital to have a rape kit
completed, and that she showed a lack of concern for the
safety and well-being of the children after learning of the
allegations of sexual abuse.
point during these proceedings, the state brought criminal
charges against the mother and CG. They fled to Florida, but
were apprehended and extradited to Louisiana. They remained
in jail during the remainder of these proceedings. The status
of the criminal charges against them was not shown on this
hearing was held on March 8, 2017. The mother and CG were not
present because they were being extradited from Florida.
However, the mother's attorney was present in court to
represent her. Psychological evaluations were ordered for DG
April 14, 2017, the trial court approved case plans with a
goal of reunification. Also on that date, at a hearing in
court, the mother stipulated that the children were CINC. The
CINC petition was dismissed as to CG. It was reported that DG
had two episodes of self-harm and he stated that his mother
told him not to like SG because she was the cause of the
family being split apart. SG had been hospitalized for
psychiatric reasons three times and was moved to a different
foster home because she was a danger to herself and the other
children in the original foster home.
DCFS determined that the mother had an extensive history with
the agency dating back to 2006. Her parental rights to
another child, not at issue here, were terminated and the
child was freed for adoption. CG also had a history with the
agency, stemming from a May 2015 complaint of lack of
hearing was held on July 12, 2017. SG had been transferred to
another foster home and then was admitted to Brentwood
Hospital, a psychiatric facility. A permanency/case review
judgment was entered on July 12, 2017. The court found that
the children continued to be CINC. Custody was maintained in
the DCFS and the case plan goal continued to be
prehearing report from the DCFS filed with the court in
December 2017, it was stated that DG had been discovered
"mutually masturbating with another child" in the
foster home. DG also admitted sexually molesting AG and
another child in the foster home. He was removed from the
foster home and admitted to Brentwood.
been placed in numerous foster homes and psychiatric
facilities. She exhibited several "meltdowns."
During the first incident at the original foster home, SG
climbed into a ditch and played in the mud. She told the DCFS
worker, "This is just how I calm myself down."
During subsequent incidents, the police were summoned. SG hit
the officers and threw car seats at them. Allegedly, she
stated that she would continue to act out until she was
allowed to go with her mother.
become clingy and was sad and distant if she did not receive
an individual's sole attention. AG had recently become
paranoid that she would be removed from the foster home. She
had inquired why one of the children in the home was adopted,
but she and DG were not. AG asked if she was going to go away
like SG and DG. The DCFS recommended that the case plan goal
remain reunification, with a concurrent goal of adoption.
hearing was held on January 10, 2018. At that time, the CASA
volunteer filed a report suggesting that the case plan goal
be changed to adoption. Because several of the attorneys had
not received the report, the matter was continued.
prehearing report to the court by DCFS in February 2018, the
agency stated that DG had been placed at the Methodist
Children's Home in Sulphur, Louisiana. SG had made
numerous threats of suicide and was back in Brentwood. The
agency was preparing to admit her to the Methodist