In re N.K., ___ N.C. App. ___ (Oct. 20, 2020)

Held: 
Affirmed
Vacated and Remanded in Part
  • Facts: This case involves two siblings, one of whom was adjudicated abused and neglected and the other was adjudicated neglected based on mother’s preparation and dissemination of pornographic pictures of one of her sons. In its disposition order, the court ordered visitation with the mother when her and the children’s therapists recommended visitation occur and that the father’s visitation be supervised.
  • Standard of review of an adjudication is whether there is clear, convincing, and competent evidence to support the findings of fact and whether the findings of fact support the conclusion of law. 
  • Evidence and findings support the conclusions.
    • The unchallenged finding of fact, supported by clear, convincing, and competent evidence (witness testimony and mother’s admission) that mother took pornographic pictures of one of her sons, although falsely claiming her brother did, and disseminated those pictures to law enforcement support an abuse and neglect adjudication.
    • G.S. 7B-101(1)(d) defines an abused juvenile as including certain criminal actions, including preparing obscene photographs of the juvenile, permitting the juvenile to assist in a violation of obscenity laws, disseminating obscene materials of the juvenile and/or material that is harmful to the juvenile, and first and second degree sexual exploitation of the juvenile. “The question in this case is not whether respondent-mother is guilty of the alleged crimes; we are only considering whether the district court findings are supported by clear and convincing evidence.” Sl.Op. at 4. Additionally, the unchallenged findings about father being aware of mother’s criminal charges and actions leading to the charges support the adjudications; the question is not whether father knew or believed mother was guilty of the alleged crimes.
    • Under G.S. 7B-101(15), a neglected juvenile is one who lives in an environment that is injurious to the juvenile’s welfare and includes a child who lives with a person who has abused or neglected other juveniles. The adjudication of abuse and evidence that supports that adjudication are enough to substantiate both that juvenile’s and his brother’s adjudication as neglected as there were living in an environment that is injurious to their welfare.
Category:
Abuse, Neglect, Dependency
Stage:
Adjudication
Topic:
Abuse
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