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07/27/89 In Re Marriage of Diane Lacquement Eleopoulos

July 27, 1989

IN RE MARRIAGE OF DIANE LACQUEMENT ELEOPOULOS,


APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FOURTH DISTRICT

Petitioner-Appellee, and MICHAEL L. LACQUEMENT,

Respondent-Appellant

542 N.E.2d 505, 186 Ill. App. 3d 374, 134 Ill. Dec. 326 1989.IL.1162

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Sangamon County; the Hon. Sue Myerscough, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE KNECHT delivered the opinion of the court. LUND and SPITZ, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE KNECHT

Respondent Michael L. Lacquement appeals from an order entered by the circuit court of Sangamon County on April 21, 1988, granting a change of custody of his minor daughter Maresa to the child's mother, Diane Lacquement Eleopoulos, pursuant to her petition of December 23, 1987. We affirm.

The record reveals the parties' marriage was dissolved on November 19, 1984, and custody of their two children, Karma, age 10, and Maresa, age 2, was awarded to respondent. On January 28, 1986, petitioner filed a petition to modify the judgment of dissolution of marriage, requesting custody of both girls. The petition alleged changes in the environment of the two minor children seriously endangered their physical, mental, moral, and environmental health. Petitioner requested a transfer of custody of the girls in order to serve their best interests. An attached affidavit by petitioner stated Karma had reported that on January 21, 1986, respondent had severely beaten her with a belt. Karma stated she was afraid of her father and did not want to return to his custody. Petitioner had observed numerous bruises on Karma's body.

No hearing on the motion was heard, but by stipulation of the parties, an order was entered on March 3, 1987, which granted custody of Karma to petitioner and ordered that custody of Maresa remain with respondent. The order also provided amended visitation schedules.

On December 1, 1987, respondent witnessed Maresa fall on the steps of her day-care center. Later that evening respondent disciplined Maresa by "popping" her several times with a belt. Respondent testified he continued to "pop" his daughter until he was sure the blows hurt her. Respondent said there were tears in Maresa's eyes. While bathing Maresa the next evening, respondent noticed a large bruise on the right side of Maresa's buttocks. Maresa did not know the bruise was there or how she had received it. She did not complain of tenderness.

Believing petitioner would file abuse charges, respondent telephoned the Department of Children and Family Services to advise them of the bruise. Later in the week, Don Boltz, a DCFS social worker, interviewed Maresa at her day-care center, at which time she said she did not know how she had received the bruise. After petitioner arrived at the center and talked to her daughter, Maresa said she was bruised because her father had spanked her with a belt.

On December 7, 1987, petitioner filed a petition for an order of protection on behalf of Maresa, alleging respondent had beat Maresa and caused her to suffer a large bruise to her buttocks. In response to the petition, the court issued an emergency order of protection finding "[t]here is reason to believe the child's present environment seriously endangers her physical, mental, moral and emotional health." Maresa was placed in the physical custody of her mother.

On December 23, 1987, petitioner filed a petition to modify the judgment of dissolution of marriage, which alleged the following:

"That since the time of the entry of the Order entered March 3, 1987, changes have occurred in the environment of MARESA . . . which seriously endangers her physical, mental, moral and emotional health. A transfer of her custody to the ...


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