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Sullivan v. Doe

Supreme Judicial Court of Maine

August 28, 2014

RICHARD S. SULLIVAN
v.
JANE DOE [1]

Submitted On Briefs July 30, 2014

Judgment affirmed.

Dawn D. Dyer, Esq., Law Office of Dawn D. Dyer, Windham, for appellant Richard S. Sullivan.

Jane Doe did not file a brief.

Panel: SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, SILVER, MEAD, GORMAN, and JABAR, JJ.

OPINION

Page 172

ALEXANDER, J.

[¶1] Richard S. Sullivan appeals fro a judgment awarding parental rights and responsibilities, 19-A M.R.S. § 1653 (2013), entered in the District Court (Bridgton, Goranites, J. ). The court awarded sole parental rights and responsibilities of the parties' child to the child's mother, referred to here as Jane Doe, denied Sullivan rights of contact with the

Page 173

child " at this time," and denied Sullivan access to records and information about the child.

[¶2] Sullivan began sexually abusing Doe when she was a minor. Despite this, Sullivan argues that the court erroneously found that he poses a significant risk to minors and abused its discretion in denying him rights of contact and access to the child's records. Sullivan also argues that the court erroneously found that he owes $38,019 in past child support, claiming that he was not credited for periods when he provided residential care for the child. We affirm the judgment.

I. CASE HISTORY

[¶3] The trial court found that Richard S. Sullivan sexually exploited and abused Jane Doe starting when Doe was thirteen or fourteen years old and Sullivan was approximately sixty years old. The trial court found that Sullivan's abuse continued throughout the remainder of Doe's minority and into her adulthood, and occurred at least weekly. Once, when she was sixteen, Sullivan arranged an abortion for Doe, without her parents' knowledge. Sullivan agrees that he met Doe when she was thirteen or fourteen, but insists that his sexual relationship with Doe did not begin until she was eighteen.

[¶4] Doe gave birth to the parties' daughter in 2007 when she was twenty years old. The parties dispute the extent to which the child lived or stayed with Sullivan prior to May 2011. Sullivan testified that Doe and the child lived with him intermittently for periods of many months between September 2007 and May 2011 and that he provided for the child financially when she lived with him. Doe agreed that she and the child stayed with Sullivan during some periods for a few months at a time. She also testified that the child never stayed alone with Sullivan for more than a couple of days at a time, she never resided permanently with Sullivan, and Sullivan did not provide financial support for her.

[¶5] Doe filed a complaint for an order for protection from abuse (PFA), 19-A M.R.S. § 4007 (2013), against Sullivan in May 2011, and the District Court issued a temporary protection from abuse order. The parties agreed to the entry of a two-year PFA order on June 15, 2011. Since then, Sullivan has had no contact with the child. The record indicates that on June 17, 2013, the PFA was extended for another two years, to 2015, by agreement of the parties.

[¶6] In December 2011, Sullivan filed a complaint for a determination of paternity, parental rights and responsibilities, and child support obligations as to the child. After Sullivan's paternity was established in July 2012, the court ( Powers, J. ), after a hearing, entered an interim order denying ...


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