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In re Yasmine P.

April 03, 2002

IN RE YASMINE P. AND JEREMY P., MINORS,
(THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PETITIONER-APPELLEE,
v.
MICHAEL P., RESPONDENT-APPELLANT).



Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 10th Judicial Circuit, Peoria County, Illinois No. 99-JA-160 Honorable Jerelyn D. Maher Judge, Presiding

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Homer

Released for publication April 11, 2002.

IN RE YASMINE P. AND JEREMY P., MINORS,
(THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PETITIONER-APPELLEE,
v.
MICHAEL P., RESPONDENT-APPELLANT).

Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 10th Judicial Circuit, Peoria County, Illinois No. 99-JA-160 Honorable Jerelyn D. Maher Judge, Presiding

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Homer

PUBLISHED

 The State filed juvenile petitions for wardship, alleging that the minors, Yasmine P. and Jeremy P., born December 21, 1994, and October 4, 1996, respectively, were abused and neglected. Respondent Michael P. stipulated that the State could prove its allegations. Accordingly, the court granted the petition on grounds that respondent had physically abused the minors' mother, Marjorie R., and a stepdaughter, Miriam L., and that he had sexually abused Yasmine and another stepdaughter, Samantha L.

The State subsequently filed a petition to terminate respondent's parental rights on the ground of depravity (750 ILCS 50/1(D)(i) (West 2000)). Following separate hearings, the court found respondent unfit and terminated his parental rights. Respondent appeals, contending that (1) hearsay documents introduced by the State at the unfitness hearing were improperly admitted into evidence, and (2) the State's evidence was insufficient to prove him unfit to be a parent. We affirm.

FACTS

At the unfitness hearing of May 9, 2001, the State introduced certified copies of respondent's convictions for three offenses committed in 1999. Respondent pled guilty to the aggravated assault of a police officer in January 1999 and to domestic battery based on choking and hitting Marjorie on May 15, 1999. He also entered into a plea agreement in which he pled guilty to predatory criminal sexual assault of seven-year-old Samantha, in exchange for a 12-year prison sentence. Respondent was living in the household with Marjorie and her four children at the time of all three offenses.

The State also presented certified medical records and a report of an examining physician of the Pediatric Resource Center relating to an examination of Yasmine. The examination revealed scarring on the fossa navicularis, which the physician found consistent with a reported history of digital penetration of the vagina. Finally, before presenting its witnesses, the State introduced a certified and delegated report of a psychological evaluation of respondent conducted on February 16, 2000, at the request of the Department of Children and Family Services. The psychological evaluation materials indicated that respondent's denial of sexual misconduct with the children was false. Respondent objected to the admission of the psychological evaluation and pediatric records on grounds of relevancy and hearsay. The court admitted the psychological evaluation over respondent's objection and reserved ruling on his hearsay objection to the pediatric documents pending further evidence.

The State then introduced Peoria County sheriff's investigator Dave Doubet, who testified that he interviewed Samantha on July 29, 1999. Doubet testified that respondent had forced her to suck his penis in the summer of 1999. She described "white, globby stuff" that came out, which she had to clean off the bed. Samantha said respondent warned her "to be quiet about it."

On July 30, 1999, Doubet interviewed respondent. At that time, respondent denied Samantha's allegations. However, he admitted that he had beaten Marjorie in 1998 and left her lying on the roadside with a broken eardrum.

On September 13, 1999, Doubet interviewed Yasmine. After Yasmine demonstrated that she knew the difference between the truth and lies, she told Doubet that respondent had put his "fingers in her butt." She showed Doubet the conduct by rubbing her hands on her vagina. She said the rubbing lasted "a long time" and it happened in her bedroom at night "a lot of times" when ...


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