FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF
SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. DN-17-07-0578
NICHOLAS KLYMENKO, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.
BEVAN WALSH, Prosecuting Attorney, and HEAVEN DIMARTINO,
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.
WILLIAM WHITAKER, Attorney at Law, for Appellee.
MARIE CURTIS, Attorney at Law, for Appellee.
KERNAN, Attorney at Law, for Appellee.
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
JENNIFER HENSAL JUDGE.
Appellant, S.K. ("Mother"), appeals from a judgment
of the Summit County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile
Division, that adjudicated her minor child dependent and
placed the child in the temporary custody of the child's
father, R.W. ("Father"). This Court reverses and
Mother and Father are the parents of I.K.-W., born April 30,
2012. According to the allegations in the initial complaint
in this case, Summit County Children Services Board
("CSB") had a prior case with I.K.-W., which
resulted in an adjudication that the then three-year-old
child was abused and dependent based on her sexualized
knowledge and behavior, but no one was identified as the
perpetrator of the abuse. The child was returned to
Mother's custody under an order of protective
supervision. Protective supervision was later terminated, and
the prior case was closed.
On July 31, 2017, CSB filed the complaint to commence this
case, again alleging that I.K.-W. had been sexually abused.
This time, the complaint alleged that Father had been the
perpetrator of the abuse. At the time this case began, the
child was living with Mother in Summit County and Father
lived in Lucas County. CSB's complaint sought a
disposition of protective supervision and a no contact order
Prior to the scheduled adjudicatory hearing, CSB filed a case
plan, which focused on providing services to address the
allegations in the complaint. Notably, the only concerns
identified by CSB in the case plan pertained to Father's
alleged sexual abuse of the child.
The parties convened for an adjudicatory hearing before a
magistrate on October 2, 2017. During an off-the-record
discussion between the parties and their counsel, Mother and
Father purportedly agreed that the trial court could
adjudicate their child dependent. They signed and initialed
written waivers and the magistrate spoke to them on the
The magistrate later issued an adjudicatory decision, which
incorporated the allegations in an amended complaint that was
filed at the same time. The amended complaint deleted some of
the allegations about Father sexually abusing the child. It
also added several unsworn statements of Father that he
denied abusing the child, he had experts who could support
his defense, and he "believe[d] that [Mother] ha[d]
created a false belief in [the child] that sexual abuse has
The matter proceeded to a contested dispositional hearing,
during which Father presented numerous expert and lay
witnesses, attempting to prove that he had not abused I.K.-W.
but that Mother had coached the child to make false
allegations and/or traumatized the child by overreacting to
the child's disclosures. Mother presented the testimony
of lay witnesses but was not prepared to present an expert
witness to contradict the testimony of Father's experts.
Ultimately, the trial court adjudicated the child dependent
and placed her in the temporary custody of Father, under an
order of protective supervision.
Mother appealed and raised two assignments of error. After an
initial review of the record in this case, this Court ordered
the parties to brief additional issues regarding whether the
trial court's adjudication of I.K.-W. complied with
statutory and juvenile rule requirements to protect the due
process rights of the parents. Because the due process issue