Submitted On Briefs: April 27, 2017
S. Kilgore, Esq., Taylor S. Kilgore, Attorney at Law, Turner,
for appellant Mother.
Dubé, Esq., Dubé & Link, P.A., Auburn, for
T. Mills, Attorney General, and Meghan Szylvian, Asst. Atty.
Gen., Office of the Attorney General, Augusta, for appellee
Department of Health and Human Services.
SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, and
The parents of Daniel H. appeal from a judgment entered in
the District Court (Rumford, Carlson, J.)
terminating their parental rights due to persistent concerns
about Daniels basic health and safety, the parents inability
to understand and respond to his needs, their history of
substance abuse, the mothers serious intellectual
limitations, and the fathers violence toward the mother and
others. We affirm the judgment.
The following facts are drawn from the courts findings of
fact, reached by clear and convincing evidence, all of which
are supported by competent evidence in the record. See In
re Logan M., 2017 ME 23, ¶ 3, 155 A.3d 430. The
parents met in Michigan and moved to Maine in March 2014 at
around the time the father was charged in Michigan with a
felony criminal sexual conduct offense against a girl under
the age of thirteen. A warrant for the fathers arrest was
issued in conjunction with the felony complaint on March 19,
2014. The mother was pregnant at the time of the move, and
Daniel was born in Maine on May 27, 2014. The parents were
married sometime in 2015.
The Department of Health and Human Services was involved with
the family repeatedly before petitioning for a child
protection order and order of preliminary protection on
August 27, 2015. The petition was based on the fathers
physical altercation with a neighbor while holding Daniel in
his arms, the fathers active arrest warrant from Michigan,
and the presence of choking and other health hazards within
reach of the child. The court (Beliveau, J.) entered
an order of preliminary protection granting custody of Daniel
to the Department.
The parents waived the right to a summary preliminary
hearing, and the court (Carlson, J.) entered a
jeopardy order, with the parents agreement, in November 2015.
Jeopardy was based on the parents inability to safely
supervise Daniel, including during the mothers supervised
visits with the child; their inability to keep hazardous
items away from the child; allegations of the fathers sexual
abuse of minors; substance abuse by both parents; the fathers
violence toward a neighborhood cat in front of the child,
resulting in the cat being put down; and the fathers
altercation with his neighbor. By the time of the next
judicial review in April 2016, the father was incarcerated on
charges of operating under the influence, failure to submit
to arrest or detention, and assault on a police officer. He
was convicted of assault on an officer and OUI in May 2016
after pleading guilty to those charges.
The Department petitioned for the termination of both parents
parental rights on July 25, 2016. After one additional
judicial review, the court held a hearing on the termination
petition on October 31, 2016.
With respect to the mothers parental fitness, the court found
that her parental rights to each of her four older children
had been terminated, though she has little insight into why
any of the children were removed from her care. Between the
ages of fifteen and twenty-one, the mother was addicted to
crack cocaine, and up until a week before the hearing, she
had been using marijuana, without a ...