Submitted On Briefs: January 17, 2019
M. Pushard, Esq., Lewiston, for appellant Father
Department of Health and Human Services did not file a brief
ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, HJELM, and HUMPHREY, JJ.
Jonathan D. appeals from a judgment of the District Court
(Lewiston, Montgomery, J.) terminating his parental
rights to his child pursuant to 22 M.R.S. §
4055(1)(B)(2)(a), (b)(i)-(ii) (2017). We affirm the
On July 7, 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services
filed a child protection petition when the child was
approximately fifteen months old. See 22 M.R.S.
§ 4032 (2017). The petition alleged that the father is a
registered sex offender with a history of serious untreated
mental health issues and that the mother was unable to keep
unsafe persons-including the father- away from the child. On
August 3, 2016, the Department requested a preliminary
protection order. The court [Oram, J.) held a
hearing on the Department's request on August 16, 2016,
and entered an order transferring custody of the child to the
Department the following day.
On November 1, 2016, the court [Dow, /.) held a
jeopardy hearing and, after issuing findings of facts,
entered an order relieving the Department of its obligation
to pursue reunification efforts with the father based on the
aggravating factor of his 2008 conviction of unlawful sexual
contact (Class B), 17-A M.R.S. § 255-A(1)(E-1) (2017),
involving a two-year-old child. See 22 M.R.S.
§§ 4002(1-B)(A)(1), 4035(1), (2) (2017). Despite
the cease reunification order, the court ordered the
Department to provide the father with sex offender treatment
and individual counseling.
On January 25, 2018, the Department filed a petition for
termination of the father's parental rights. The court
[Montgomery, J.) held a hearing on the petition on
April 10, 2018, and, on May 14, 2018, issued an order
granting the Department's petition to terminate the
father's parental rights. Based on the testimony
presented at the hearing and other competent evidence in the
record, the court found by clear and convincing evidence that
termination of the father's parental rights is in the
best interest of the child because he is unwilling or unable
to protect the child from jeopardy or take responsibility for
the child within a time which is reasonably calculated to
meet the child's need. 22 M.R.S. § 4055(1)(B)(2)(a),
The court based its decision on the following factual
findings, all of which are supported by competent evidence in
As a very young child, [the father] was subjected to
egregious ... abuse as well as neglect. He has been diagnosed
with a variety of mental illnesses, including
schitzo-affective disorder, bipolar disorder, dissociative
identity disorder, PTSD, and depression. This extended and
severe childhood trauma has likely caused and/or exacerbated
[the father's] mental illness and demonstrable anger.
In 2008, [the father] was convicted of Class B Unlawful
Sexual Contact and sentenced to five years with all but two
years suspended and six years of probation. His crime
involved sexual contact with a two-year-old girl while
babysitting her. . . .
. . . .
As for sex offender treatment, [the father's] engagement
has been sporadic over the course of the last six or so
years. Despite repeated attempts to engage in the therapy, he
has expressed a lack of confidence in the efficacy of such
treatment and at least twice refused to ...