Appeal from Circuit Court of Livingston County. Nos. 89J60, 90J122, 90J123, 90J124, 91J11, 91J12, 91J13. Honorable Harold J. Frobish, Judge Presiding.
As Corrected July 15, 1994.
Honorable Robert J. Steigmann, J., Honorable John T. McCULLOUGH, P.j., Honorable Carl A. Lund, J.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Steigmann
JUSTICE STEIGMANN delivered the opinion of the court:
In August 1993, the trial court found respondent, Debbie Jackson, to be an unfit parent based upon (1) her failure to make reasonable efforts to correct the conditions which were the basis for removal of the minors, (2) her failure to make reasonable progress toward the return of the minors within 12 months after the adjudication of neglect, and (3) her failure to protect the minors from conditions injurious to their welfare. (750 ILCS 50/1(D)(m), (D)(g) (West 1992).) In September 1993, the trial court terminated her parental rights as to three of her children.
Respondent appeals, arguing that because the conditions imposed by the trial court to regain custody of her children were satisfied within the statutory 12-month period of its finding of neglect, the court erred in terminating her parental rights.
In March 1991, the trial court adjudicated respondent's children, D.J. (born April 21, 1978), J.J. (born June 6, 1981), J.J. (born February 8, 1983), and E.J. (born September 13, 1988), neglected. The trial court's neglect finding was largely based upon its Conclusion that respondent's boyfriend, Jacob Rexroad, constituted an injurious environment for her children. At the April 1991 Dispositional hearing, the court placed the children in the custody of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).
The court's finding of neglect was largely based upon respondent's continued relationship with Rexroad. They began dating in the fall of 1990. On November 1, 1990, the trial court ordered respondent not to allow Rexroad any contact with D.J. In December 1990, the court expanded that order to include J.J., J.J., and E.J. The court found that on several occasions, Rexroad supervised the children alone and stayed overnight with respondent. Respondent ultimately lost custody of her children because she ignored the court's orders and maintained both her and her children's relationship with Rexroad.
Respondent never challenged or appealed the trial court's Conclusion that Rexroad constituted an injurious condition to respondent's children, and with good reason. The court found that Rexroad had a long history of sexual perversion against children. Specifically, the trial court found as follows:
"[Rexroad] has an admitted 20-year history of molesting people and he has the '83 [indecent liberties with a child and contributing to the sexual delinquency of a minor] conviction[s]. * * *
This molesting involved initially his sisters [who were about four or five years old], * * * progressed to his brothers, and at a later time his nephews, which were then disclosed in '82.
He molested his sisters until he was a little bit older and learned in school about the possibility of pregnancy, and then he stopped for fear of pregnancy * * * and he feared they might tell and he [then] began molesting his brothers who were younger at that point, between the ages of three and 11.
He molested his younger brothers until they were at an age when he thought they were becoming older and might disclose that abuse. The next molesting * * * was nephews * * * [which] took place over a later period in his adult life.
I could go on and on, but he got married and then he molested again after his marriage and was not interested in sex with his wife then because he was getting sexual fulfillment through molesting."
At the March 1991 adjudicatory hearing, the court ordered respondent to satisfy certain conditions in order to regain custody of her children. As one of these conditions, the court--again--ordered her to disassociate herself and her children from Rexroad. The trial court found Rexroad a risk to the ...