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Y.H. v. C.C.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

July 18, 2019

Y.H., Petitioner-Appellee,
v.
C.C., Respondent-Appellant.

          Civil Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Domestic Relations Division Case No. DV-18-371081

          The Law Office of Samantha M. Salamon, and Samantha Salamon, for appellee.

          C.C., pro se.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          EILEEN T. GALLAGHER, PRESIDING JUDGE

         {¶ 1} Respondent-appellant, C.C.[1] ("Husband"), pro se, appeals a judgment of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Division, granting a domestic violence civil protection order ("CPO") against him and in favor of petitioner-appellee, Y.H. ("Wife"). He claims the following errors:

1.The petition and issuance of civil protection order based on the same cause and events as the complaint for criminal proceeding shall be invalid due to lack of evidence and burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt and necessity to prevent immediate and threatened hurt or bodily harm.
2. The motion to petition an extension of civil protection order based on the text message as the complaint for threatening language shall be invalid due to lack of preponderance of evidence demonstrating the danger of domestic violence.

         {¶ 2} We find no merit to the appeal and affirm the trial court's judgment.

         I. Facts and Procedural History

         {¶3} On March 15, 2018, Wife filed a petition seeking a CPO against Husband, alleging that Husband sexually assaulted her. The court entered an ex parte order of protection that day and a full hearing was scheduled for April 30, 2018. At the April 30, 2018 hearing, Wife, who does not speak English, testified through an interpreter that Husband is unable to control his temper and has abused her "many times." (Apr. 30, 2018 tr. 27.) She explained: "I don't know what he will do when he gets home. I need to protect myself and my children." (Apr. 30, 2018 tr. 27.) Husband and Wife, who are Chinese immigrants, have three small children.

         {¶4} In September 2017, Wife contacted Asia, Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides legal services to immigrants, because she wanted to consult with a lawyer. A representative from Asia, Inc. scheduled an appointment with Wife on the morning of October 18, 2017. Wife was afraid she would be unable to make the appointment without Husband's knowledge because he followed her wherever she went. The Asia, Inc. representative advised Wife that she would keep the appointment open in the event she found herself able to attend.

         {¶ 5} On the morning of the scheduled appointment, Husband told Wife that he was going to the library. He left the house, but returned minutes later. He did this several times, and Wife thought he was checking to ensure she stayed home. However, after he had been gone for a while, Wife took the children and went to the appointment at Asia, Inc.

         {¶ 6} That evening, Husband questioned Wife about where she went while he was gone. (Apr. 30, 2018 tr. 31-32.) He "hugged" Wife from behind and rubbed his penis against her buttocks. Wife did not answer Husband's questions and Husband became angry. Later that night, after Wife had gone to bed in a guest bedroom with her children, Husband woke her up and again began questioning her about where she went while he was at the library. As he questioned her, he placed his hands on her vagina and put his finger inside her vagina. Wife pushed him away, ran across the room, and texted a friend, who told her to call the police. Wife testified that she did not call the police because she was "very scared." (Apr. 30, 2018 tr. 38.)

         {¶ 7} Husband left the bedroom and Wife locked the door. Husband used a tool to unlock the door and climbed back into bed with Wife where he continued to question her about where she went earlier that day. (Apr. 30, 2018 tr. 40.) Husband also continued to touch her vagina inside her pants. (Apr. 30, 2018 tr. 41.) Wife told Husband she was not in the mood for sex, but Husband told her she could not refuse because she is his wife. (Apr. 30, 2018 tr. 41.) Thereafter, he rubbed his penis against her vagina while persisting with his questions. (Apr. 30, 2018 tr. 41.)

         {¶ 8} Wife was the first to wake up the next morning and started reading text messages on her phone. One of Wife's friends told her that she had called the police on Wife's behalf. While Wife was reading the texts, the police knocked on the door and arrested Husband. Wife went to the police station with a representative from Asia, Inc. to make a police report. Thereafter, Husband was charged with one count each of rape, kidnapping, and gross sexual imposition. Following a jury trial, Husband was acquitted of all charges.

         {¶ 9} Wife petitioned the court for a CPO within a week of Husband's acquittal. When asked if Wife felt safe at the time of the CPO hearing, she replied: "No." (Apr. 30, 2018 tr. 46.) She explained: "Now when I see ...


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