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01/26/87 In Re J.S.

January 26, 1987

IN RE J.S., ALLEGED TO BE A NEGLECTED MINOR (THE PEOPLE OF


APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FOURTH DISTRICT

the State of Illinois, Petitioner-Appellee, v.

Laurie Sexton, Respondent-Appellant)

504 N.E.2d 513, 151 Ill. App. 3d 884, 105 Ill. Dec. 413 1987.IL.50

Appeal from the Circuit Court of McLean County; the Hon. William D. DeCardy, Judge, presiding.

Rehearing Denied February 23, 1987.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE LUND delivered the opinion of the court. GREEN and McCULLOUGH, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE LUND

Respondent, Laurie Sexton, appeals from the Dispositional order of the circuit court of McLean County pertaining to her son, the minor, J.S. The court ordered the guardianship of J.S., previously adjudicated a neglected child, transferred to the Department of Children and Family Services with authority to place the minor outside the home pursuant to section 5-7 of the Juvenile Court Act (the Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 37, par. 705-7).

On March 11, 1986, a petition for adjudication of the wardship of J.S. was filed alleging that he was neglected. J.S. was born on July 15, 1985, and was approximately eight months old at the time of the petition. A shelter care hearing was also held on March 11 pursuant to section 3-6 of the Act. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 37, par. 703-6.) At that hearing, a DCFS worker described injuries sustained by the child. The examining physicians did not testify. The court found probable cause to sustain the allegations of the petition and, further, found it a matter of urgent and immediate necessity to place the minor in shelter care.

An adjudicatory hearing was subsequently held. No evidence was taken at this hearing, as the respondent stipulated that the petition would be proved. The court issued an order finding J.S. neglected by reason of physical abuse.

At the Dispositional hearing, the State's only evidence consisted of the DCFS Dispositional report. In the report, the nature and severity of the minor's injuries were described. Just prior to the filing of the petition, the minor had been admitted to a hospital with a massive skull fracture with bruises and swelling of about 15 centimeters in diameter on the right side of his head and face. There were bruises on his chest, stomach, pelvis and back, and other injuries. In addition, X rays showed old fractures of varying ages on the minor's ribs and right leg. Respondent reported the injuries occurred when her boyfriend, left alone with the minor for a short period, dropped the minor while playing, and the child's head hit an iron bed rail. She could not give an explanation for the old fractures but indicated that she had observed her boyfriend swinging the minor by his legs.

The report discussed respondent's background. Respondent was abused by her mother while growing up. She dropped out of school but returned to receive a GED degree in 1982. She further completed nurse's training in 1986.

In meetings between the DCFS social worker and respondent, respondent supplied contradictory explanations about the bruising to J.S. The social worker also met with respondent's boyfriend, Rick Shelton. He reiterated the statement that the ...


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