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In re N.C.

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

August 8, 2013

IN THE INTEREST OF: N.C. , a Minor, APPEAL OF: N.C. , Appellant

Appeal from the Order entered on July 27, 2012 in the Court of Common Pleas of Clearfield County, Criminal Division, No. CP-17-JV-000071-2012

BEFORE SHOGAN, LAZARUS and MUSMANNO, JJ.

OPINION

MUSMANNO, J.

N.C. (a minor) appeals from the dispositional Order entered following his adjudication of delinquency for aggravated indecent assault, 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 3125(a)(7). We vacate the dispositional Order and remand for further proceedings.

In its Opinion, the juvenile court summarized the history underlying the instant appeal as follows:

[J.N. ("Mother")] is the mother of two minor children, [A.D.], date of birth March 21, 2008, and [S.D.]. She lives in Brockway, Jefferson County, Pennsylvania ….
The two minor children's parental grandmother is [S.H. ("Grandmother"), ] who has lived since January 2011, with her boyfriend[, Nathan, ] on Bond Street in Brockway ["the Bond Street house"]. Before moving in with [Nathan], [Grandmother] lived in another house in Brockway and she often babysat and kept her grandchildren overnight to accommodate [Mother's] work schedule.
On November 5, 2011, [Mother] dropped her two children off at [the Bond Street] house[] around 8:30 a.m. She indicated that she was done with work around 12:30 p.m. and that sometime that afternoon, around 3 or 3:30, [Grandmother] called and said [A.D.] was upset and wanted to go home. [Mother] took the few minute drive to [the Bond Street house] and noticed that "all were out on the porch" and that [A.D.] was upset to the extent she either was crying or had just [finished] crying. [Mother] took [A.D.] home[, ] where she described
[A.D.] as not being herself, laying around and watching cartoons on TV. At some point[, Mother] sat in the room to watch cartoons with her daughter …. [Mother] estimated this to be about an[] hour and a half after she picked [A.D.] up from [the Bond Street house.]
Without any conversation, [A.D.] said "my pee pee hurts." After that[, Mother] asked "what's wrong" to which [A.D.] responded[, ] "[ N.C. ] touched me."
[Mother] engaged in no more discussion with the minor child, but instead called Nathan, [who is] the father of [ N.C. ] Upon calling [Nathan], she asked if [ N.C. ] was present at [the Bond Street house, ] to which [Nathan] responded "no." She then had [A.D.] drop her pants and look[ed] at her genital area, noticed it was red in the center, which she thought was a rash[, ] so she applied Vaseline to it. She did no further care or investigation on that date because she assumed it was impossible for [ N.C. ] to have touched [A.D.] when he was not present at [the Bond Street house]. However, several days later, [Nathan] told her [that N.C. ] … was present at [the Bond Street house] on the date and time in question. When she found out [ N.C. ] was present, as soon as possible thereafter, [Mother] took her daughter to the Brockway Police Department and discussed the matter with Chief Terry Young and this investigation and allegation ensued.
On several occasions since that November time frame and after the child having been interviewed at Western Pennsylvania Cares, [Mother] has experienced the child at least two or three times saying that "[ N.C. ] touched her pee pee." Mother cannot give a date, time or much in the way of specifics, as to how the spontaneous statements have happened, but indicated that her [sic] and her boyfriend have witnessed these statements.
The Western Pennsylvania Cares Center ("the Center") is a child advocacy center that was established for abused or suspected abused, ...

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