Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District, Warren
FROM WARREN COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS JUVENILE DIVISION
Case Nos. 15-D000113, 15-D000114, 15-D000115
P. Fornshell, Warren County Prosecuting Attorney, Kathryn M.
Horvath, for appellee, Warren County Children Services
K. Martin, for appellant, Staniela King
L. Clouse, for appellant, Glen Keene
P. Borger, for appellant, Jacqueline King
C. Kaspar, for appellant, Randall King
1} Appellants Jacqueline King, Randall King,
Staniela King, and Glen Keene, appeal the decisions of the
Warren County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division
granting permanent custody of K.K., M.K., and S.M., to
appellee, Warren County Children Services ("WCCS"
or "the agency").
2} Staniela is the children's biological mother.
Glen is the biological father of M.K. and S.M. The biological
father of K.K. was not identified.
3} Staniela and Glen resided in Kentucky. A Kentucky
children services agency removed the children from
Staniela's and Glen's care several times because of
housing instability and drug abuse. In 2011, after the
Kentucky agency removed the children for the third time, it
placed the children in the temporary custody of Randall,
their maternal grandfather, and his wife
Jacqueline. Jacqueline and Randall lived with the
children in Warren County.
4} Staniela and Glen later relinquished legal
custody of the children to Randall and Jacqueline. In 2013,
Randall and Jacqueline adopted K.K. Randall and Jacqueline
continued to maintain legal custody of M.K. and S.M.
5} On October 23, 2015, WCCS filed a complaint
alleging that the children were dependent. The complaint
alleged that S.M., age eight, had been hospitalized because
of violent behavior toward K.K., age five, and M.K., age six,
including threatening to harm them with knives. Jacqueline
and Randall reported to the agency that they did not think
they could care for S.M. or protect the younger children from
S.M. The agency also alleged that Randall exposed the
children to pornography and was physically and verbally
abusing the children. The agency initiated a safety plan
whereby Randall left the home. However, Jacqueline later
informed the agency that Randall was needed in the home for
support. WCCS alleged that it was concerned with
Randall's and Jacqueline's mental health and their
capacity to protect the children. The complaint requested
that the court grant the agency temporary custody of the
6} The court conducted an emergency shelter care
hearing on the same day and made findings necessary to place
the children in the agency's temporary custody. The
agency placed S.M. in a residential treatment center at a
hospital in Youngstown and placed K.K. and M.K. with a foster
family. In December 2015, the juvenile court adjudicated the
children dependent. On January 20, 2016, the court continued
temporary custody with the agency.
7} WCCS developed case plans for the appellants,
with the goal of returning the children to Jacqueline and
Randall or reunifying the children with their biological
parents. The case plan required appellants to complete
various services related to their issues with mental health,
drug and alcohol abuse, and parenting. The plan required
random drug screens. The case plan allowed weekly supervised
visits with the children.
8} Jacqueline and Randall exercised weekly visits
with K.K. and M.K. However, Randall would excessively tickle
and poke the children. Visitation monitors repeatedly warned
Randall that this behavior was inappropriate and asked him to
stop. Nonetheless, he continued the behavior. Visitation
monitors observed Jacqueline displaying favoritism towards
K.K. in M.K.'s presence. Jacqueline and Randall did not
exercise visits with S.M.
9} In early May 2016, M.K. disclosed to her foster
parent that Randall had been sexually abusing her since she
was three years old. The agency suspended visits with
Jacqueline and Randall. M.K. participated in a forensic
interview and described the abuse. Following the interview,
the agency considered M.K.'s allegations substantiated. A
criminal investigation ensued.
10} Jacqueline and Randall would not cooperate with
the investigation. Randall moved out of state and began
living with his sister. Randall no longer participated in his
case plan objectives and no longer communicated with the
11} In November 2016, a Warren County grand jury
indicted Randall for two counts of rape and one count of
gross sexual imposition, with M.K. as the alleged victim.
Randall returned to Warren County after the indictment and
was incarcerated until he posted bond. He then returned to
his home with Jacqueline in Warren County.
12} Jacqueline complied with her case plan
requirements, including completing mental health and drug and
alcohol assessments. However, the agency was concerned
because Jacqueline told its workers that she did not believe
that Randall abused M.K., that M.K. lied about the abuse, and
that Staniela and Staniela's mother coached M.K. into
13} While Jacqueline's visits with K.K. and M.K.
were suspended, Jacqueline gave the agency numerous letters
and cards to pass on to the children. Agency workers refused
to pass on approximately 80 percent of the correspondences
because of inappropriate content, including suggestions that
M.K. was lying and implications that the children would be
reunified with her soon.
14} During the pendency of the case, Staniela lived
approximately four hours away from Warren County, in northern
Indiana and later in southern Michigan. Staniela rarely
visited her children. Staniela completed some case plan
services through a local service provider in Indiana.
However, she repeatedly tested positive for THC in random
15} Glen also lived in northern Indiana while the
case was pending. Glen visited with S.M. on several
occasions, but not regularly. Glen had two or three visits
with M.K. Glen did not complete his case services related to
16} On February 21, 2017, WCCS moved for permanent
custody. In May 2017, the juvenile court held a hearing on
the motion. Only Jacqueline appeared to defend her parental
rights. Staniela's attorney moved for a continuance,
explaining that his client told him she would be at the
hearing but had not called the attorney's office to say
she would be late for the hearing. The court denied
Staniela's motion. Randall's attorney next asked the
court for a continuance, explaining that Randall could not be
"involved" in the permanent custody case because of
the pending criminal indictments and that Randall could
jeopardize his ability to defend the criminal charges if he
testified. The court denied Randall's motion.
17} The state elicited testimony from the forensic
interviewer who spoke with M. K. concerning the alleged
sexual abuse. M. K. was seven years old at the time of the
interview. The interviewer opined that based on her
experience in interviewing child abuse victims, M.K.'s
allegations were substantiated.
18} S.M.'s therapist testified that she began
treating S.M. in July 2016, when he was nine years old.
Medical professionals diagnosed S.M. with several mental
health conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder.
S.M. never spoke of Jacqueline or Randall, except to discuss
Randall's physical and verbal abuse. S.M. was ...