Appeal from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare in the case of Appeal of: W.A.Y., No. 21-85-081.
Robert B. Lieberman, Brunt & Lieberman, for petitioner.
Ruth O'Brien, Assistant Counsel, for respondent.
Bruce E. Cooper, for intervenor, W.A.Y.
Judges MacPhail and Colins, and Senior Judge Narick, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Narick. Dissenting Opinion by Judge MacPhail.
[ 117 Pa. Commw. Page 306]
Dauphin County Social Services for Children and Youth (Children and Youth) has petitioned for review of a final decision and order issued by the Department of Public Welfare (DPW). This order adopted in its entirety the recommendation of the hearing officer which granted the request of W.A.Y. to expunge certain indicated reports of child abuse maintained pursuant to the Child Protective Services Law*fn1 naming W.A.Y. as the perpetrator of the abuse. We affirm.
[ 117 Pa. Commw. Page 307]
W.A.Y. was named in indicated reports*fn2 of sexual child abuse involving his two minor daughters, J.Y. and A.Y.*fn3 Pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Law, 11 P.S. § 2215(d), W.A.Y. submitted a request to the Secretary of DPW for expungement of the indicated reports of child abuse.
A brief chronology of events in this matter can be set forth as follows. On July 5, 1984, Children and Youth received a report of incest naming J.Y. as the abused child and W.A.Y. as the perpetrator. On July 6, 1984 and July 13, 1984, J.Y. met with a sexual abuse specialist from Children and Youth. On July 9, 1984, August 27, 1984, November 1, 1984 and November 17, 1984, J.Y. met with Dr. Dorris Tinker, a clinical psychologist. On July 13, 1984, Children and Youth forwarded a report of suspected child abuse to the Dauphin County District Attorney's Office. On August 2, 1984, Children and Youth filed a child protective service investigation report naming J.Y. as the child and W.A.Y. as the perpetrator.
With respect to A.Y., Children and Youth received a report of sexual abuse naming A.Y. as the child and W.A.Y. as the perpetrator on August 8, 1984. A.Y. was interviewed by Dr. Tinker on August 27, 1984. Children and Youth filed a child protective service investigation
[ 117 Pa. Commw. Page 308]
report naming A.Y. as the child and W.A.Y. as the perpetrator on September 5, 1984.*fn4
On October 8, 1985, a hearing was held before a hearing officer and testimony was presented by Children and Youth and W.A.Y. Neither S.Y., the mother of J.Y. and A.Y., nor J.Y. and A.Y. were present at the hearing before the hearing officer. Testifying on behalf of Children and Youth were Alicia Smith, a sexual abuse specialist employed by Children and Youth, and Dr. Tinker. Smith testified that during her interview with J.Y. she utilized anatomically correct dolls. Smith stated that based upon statements made to her by J.Y. as well as J.Y.'s actions toward the male anatomically correct doll that she believed J.Y. had been sexually abused. Smith did not interview A.Y. Dr. Tinker testified that she believed after interviewing J.Y. that J.Y. had been sexually abused. However, as to A.Y.,*fn5 Dr. Tinker admitted that she could not be certain whether A.Y. was just repeating what she overheard J.Y. say or whether an instance of abuse had actually occurred.*fn6
W.A.Y. testified on his own behalf and also presented the testimony of his father, a neighbor, a friend, and his ex-wife. All of W.A.Y.'s witnesses testified that J.Y. and A.Y. seemed happy and comfortable while spending time with their father. W.A.Y.'s ex-wife also testified that W.A.Y. was not an individual who would engage in sexual molestation ...