APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY. HONORABLE WALTER WILLIAMS, JUDGE PRESIDING.
Released for Publication April 19, 1994.
O'connor, Campbell, Manning
The opinion of the court was delivered by: O'connor
Justice O'Connor delivered the opinion of the court:
Respondent, Denise M., appeals from an order of the circuit court, in which the court found that her daughter, Donna, was an abused minor whose environment was injurious to her welfare.
On October 1, 1987, petitioner, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), filed a petition for adjudication of wardship. The petition alleged that Donna was abused in that her parent committed or allowed a sex offense to be committed against Donna in violation of "section 702-4 2(A) iii" of the Juvenile Court Act then in effect. The petition also alleged abuse resulting from living in an environment injurious to her welfare.
At the adjudicatory hearing (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 37, pars. 704-2, 704-6, 704-8), each party presented evidence by stipulation. If called to testify, Lida Hunt would have sworn that she is a school teacher at Jane Adams School in Melrose Park. On September 29, 1987, Donna, who had been taking a makeup test in Hunt's presence, began to cry. Hunt took Donna aside, and Donna told her that her "Uncle Tony kept me in bed all weekend." Donna informed Hunt that her mother and maternal grandmother were in the home and that they had told "him to leave me alone and he doesn't leave me alone." When Hunt asked Donna what her uncle did to her, Donna replied that "he put his thing he goes to the bathroom with where I go to the bathroom." Hunt then referred Donna to the school's social worker.
The State then presented the stipulated testimony of Mary Beth Reblar, the certified social worker to whom Donna was assigned. Donna told Reblar that "Tony had sex with me. Tony who lives with me, my uncle." Donna described to Reblar fondling, vaginal intercourse, and kissing. When Reblar asked Donna if she had told anyone, Donna replied that "people at home knew." Donna also told her that the abuse had been going on during the summer of 1987. Donna was afraid to go home because the incidents were occurring more frequently and because Tony had threatened to cut off her doll's head. Donna also expressed fears that no one would believe her.
Michael Britt's stipulation was presented next. Britt, an investigator with the DCFS, received a report from the school, where he interviewed Donna later that day. Donna told him that Tony would "put his hand in his pants and then put his hand between herlegs." When Tony put his hand between her legs, it "felt like grease." Donna also told Britt that her grandmother had told her to say that another child, also named Tony, had touched her. After the interview, Britt took protective custody of Donna and admitted her into Mount Sinai Hospital for evaluation.
Dr. Anthony Decker testified by stipulation as well. He was the pediatrician on call at Mount Sinai when Donna arrived on September 29, 1987. He gave her a pelvic examination at that time and found that her hymen was open to one and five tenths centimeters; the hymen of the average girl Donna's age would be open to only six tenths of a centimeter or less. Dr. Decker also found Donna's vagina to be "gaping," which indicated repetitive penetration. Dr. Decker found no rectal lesions; however, he did find loose rectal tone consistent with penetration. Dr. Decker's principal diagnosis was sexual abuse. Donna's medical records from her stay at Mount Sinai were admitted into evidence.
Denise presented four witnesses. First, Josephine M., Donna's grandmother, testified by stipulation. Josephine lived with Donna, along with Donna's grandfather, Denise, and Tony the alleged perpetrator. Josephine stated that the family participated in many activities together, but that Donna and Tony were never alone together. Donna shared a bed with her grandmother, and Tony had his own bedroom. Tony had never been violent toward any family member, including Donna. Finally, Donna never complained to her grandmother that Tony, or anyone else, had sexually abused her.
Donna's grandfather, Anthony Sr., stated that his son, Tony, was not a violent person and that he treated Donna with care and love. Donna never reported to her grandfather that she had been sexually abused by Tony or anyone else.
Denise stated that Donna was treated well by the whole family and that she had never witnessed any maltreatment of Donna by Tony. Nor did ...