MAURISSA J. B., Petitioner-Appellee,
INGRIDA K., Respondent-Appellant.
from the Circuit Court of McHenry County. No. 19-OP-23
Honorable Mary H. Nader, Judge, Presiding.
McLAREN, JUSTICE delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justice Burke concurred in the judgment and opinion.
1 Respondent, Ingrida K., appeals from a plenary order of
protection entered against her for the protection of F.K.,
born May 20, 2011, the daughter of Ingrida's husband,
Thomas K. (Tom), and petitioner, Maurissa J. B. Maurissa and
Tom never married. On appeal, Ingrida argues that the
evidence was insufficient to support the plenary order of
protection and that the remedy imposed by the trial court,
prohibiting all contact between Ingrida and F.K. for two
years, is too harsh. We reverse.
2 I. BACKGROUND
3 From 2013 to sometime in 2016, Maurissa was incarcerated in
Wisconsin for 2½ years. During Maurissa's
incarceration, F.K. lived with Tom in Antioch. In April or
May 2014, when F.K. was almost three years old, Ingrida moved
into Tom's home with her daughter, Victoria. In November
2014, Ingrida and Tom had a son, Dillan. In June 2017, the
trial court entered a parenting order that provided that F.K.
would reside with Tom. The order also provided that Maurissa
would have parenting time with F.K. every other weekend,
during spring break, and for three consecutive weeks during
summer break. In addition, Maurissa and Tom would alternate
holidays. In December 2018, Ingrida and Tom hired Belle
Gramer as a nanny for their children. Belle quit this job in
early January 2019.
4 On January 7, 2019, Maurissa filed a petition seeking an
emergency order of protection pursuant to the Illinois
Domestic Violence Act of 1986 (Act) (750 ILCS 60/101 through
401 (West 2018)). The petition alleged the following. Since
F.K. had lived with Tom and Ingrida, "about 4 ½
years," Ingrida "has been emotionally abusive to
[F.K.]." On December 12, 2018, Ingrida pulled F.K. by
the hood and yelled at F.K., "you lie to me now what is
going to happen when you get older, you are going to land up
in jail." On the same day, Ingrida also shamed F.K. in
front of another child and made fun of her in front of a boy
at the bus stop. On December 14, 2018, Ingrida shoved F.K.
and emotionally abused her. On January 2, 2019, Ingrida beat
F.K. with a wooden spoon, pushed her, and told her to get up
and walk. On the same day, Belle heard Ingrida hitting F.K.
and F.K. crying. On January 3, 2019, F.K. told Belle that she
is afraid of Ingrida, that Ingrida hits her all over her body
with a wooden spoon, and that most of F.K. 's bruises are
on her legs so that no one can see them. On January 4, 2019,
F.K. told Maurissa that Ingrida hit her, and Maurissa saw a
bruise on F.K.'s right thigh.
5 The trial court, Judge Mark Gerhardt presiding, granted the
emergency order of protection the same day it was filed. The
trial court's order stated that Tom is F.K.'s primary
caretaker. The court found that F.K. had been abused by
Ingrida, and it ordered Ingrida to stay at least 200 feet
away from the residence in Antioch while F.K. is present. The
court granted Maurissa "the physical care and possession
of [F.K.]." However, the court reserved Maurissa's
request for temporary custody of F.K.
6 On January 17, 2019, the following colloquy occurred while
the trial court and the parties were discussing scheduling a
hearing on the entry of a plenary order of protection:
"THE COURT: I still have a lot of things on my call to
get rid of. Is there any possibility that you can come back
at 2:30 or 3 this afternoon?
MS. KUZNIEWSKI [(MAURISSA'S ATTORNEY)]: I have an
appointment with my accountant.
THE COURT: You do?
MS. KUZNIEWSKI: It's so hard to get into see her.
Otherwise I would try and reschedule it.
MR. LOIZZO [(INGRIDA'S ATTORNEY)]: I could make that
work, Judge. *** My problem is my client is living in a hotel
because she can't live in the house.
MS. KUZNIEWSKI: My client would be willing to keep the
child with her until that time-until the time of the
MR. LOIZZO: I'm sure she would.
MS. KUZNIEWSKI: Absolutely." (Emphases added.)
7 The hearing on the entry of a plenary order of protection
occurred before Judge Mary H. Nader on January 18, 23, and
24, 2019. Maurissa testified as follows. Maurissa married
Matt B. in June 2016. Maurissa and Matt live in St. Charles
and they "have [Matt's] girls," nine-year-old
twins, Angelica and Elizabeth, "part-time." F.K.
lives with Tom and Ingrida.
8 Maurissa testified that on or about January 3, 2019, she
received a message through Facebook from Belle and her
mother, Karena Gramer. On January 4, Maurissa attempted to
obtain an order of protection at the Kane County courthouse
on behalf of F.K. and against Ingrida. Maurissa was sent to
the McHenry County courthouse, where she filed for the
emergency order of protection on January 7, 2019. While F.K.
was at Maurissa's home the weekend of January 4, 2019,
she was not her usual bubbly self and had a bruise on her
right thigh. When F.K. was at Maurissa's home the weekend
prior to Maurissa's testimony, while the emergency order
was in place, F.K. was "a little more bubbly, a little
more smiley, a little more outgoing than normal." When
Maurissa took F.K. back to Tom's house on Sunday,
"[s]he just did not want to go home. She was crying. She
said this is all my fault. You know, how can I fix the
situation." F.K. had no behavior problems at school and
her report card said that F.K. was "a ray of sun shine
[sic]." F.K. had no behavior issues at
Maurissa's home except once she was punished for not
brushing her teeth and she had to go to bed five minutes
9 During direct examination by Ingrida's attorney,
Maurissa testified as follows. The emergency order of
protection required Ingrida to be out of her house while F.K.
was present. While the emergency order of protection was in
effect and when F.K. was at Tom's house, Maurissa asked
police to go there for "wellness checks,"
"[j]ust to make sure [F.K.] was okay."
10 Belle testified as follows. From December 10, 2018, until
January 3, 2019, Belle worked for Ingrida and Tom in their
home as a nanny for three children: 4-year-old Dillan,
7-year-old F.K., and 11-year-old Victoria. Belle testified
that she worked in Ingrida and Tom's home for four weeks
and slept in the home for a total of ten nights. F.K. visited
Maurissa once in a while, and Victoria visited her father
once in a while. Karena worked with Ingrida and recommended
Belle to her. Dillan was Ingrida and Thomas's son. Belle
was pregnant and 21 years old when she began working for
Ingrida and Tom. Belle lived with her boyfriend when she was
not staying at Ingrida and Tom's home. When Belle slept
at the home, she slept in the basement, and the family slept
upstairs. F.K. and Victoria shared a bedroom.
11 Belle testified that, on December 10, 2018, while Ingrida
drove Belle from her home in Milwaukee to Ingrida and
Tom's home, Belle became concerned for F.K. because of
things Ingrida said about her. Ingrida told Belle that
"there was something wrong with [F.K.], and that she had
bad genes from both her parents, and *** she would
end up in jail just like her mom." When Belle and
Ingrida arrived home that evening, Ingrida and Tom left the
house, and Belle watched the children and played a board game
on the floor with F.K. and Victoria. When Ingrida and Tom
returned home, Ingrida saw Belle and F.K. on the floor
together and "started yelling for [F.K.] to stay away
from [Belle], and that [Belle is] pregnant, and [Ingrida]
said [to F.K.], what's wrong with you, and [Ingrida] told
[Belle] that [F.K.] always seeks attention from everyone that
comes over." Ingrida then told F.K. to "play with
her own things and go play by herself." F.K. walked off
with her head down. F.K. looked "pretty skittish like
she didn't know which way to walk to, and what to do with
12 Belle testified that the morning of December 12, 2018,
while she and Ingrida were leaving the house to take F.K. and
Dillan to the bus stop, F.K. opened the door, stepped back,
and accidentally stepped on Dillan's foot. Dillan said
"ow." Belle testified that Ingrida "grabbed
[F.K.] by the hood and yanked her back and yelled at her,
saying, "What's wrong with you? He's just a
baby. Why would you do that to a baby? What kind of a sister
are you?" When they walked outside, Ingrida continued to
yell at F.K. about lying to her the night before, saying
"Oh, you lie to me now. What are you going to be like
when you get older? Are you going to be like one of the bad
kids? Are you going to be in jail like your mom?" At the
bus stop, Ingrida asked a little boy if F.K. was good on the
bus and the boy nodded. Ingrida said, "All my years of
yelling at you paid off finally." F.K. was not ...