An imprisoned father who murdered the mother of his children and burned down her home lost his appeal of the termination of his parental rights after an appellate court concluded that the children were better off out of his care.In September 2016, minor children S.K. Jr., E.K. and M.K. were removed from their father’s care and adjudicated children in need of services after father S.K. was arrested and charged with murdering their mother and burning down her house. He was ultimately convicted of the crimes and sentenced in January 2018 to an aggregate 65 years in prison.A trial court soon after concluded that efforts to reunify S.K. with his children were no longer necessary pursuant to Indiana Code section 31-34-21-5.6, and DCS filed petitions to involuntarily terminate his parental rights.The children, who are intended to be adopted by their maternal grandmother, had already been twice removed from their parents’ care and adjudicated as CHINS when S.K. was issued a no-contact order in 2011 and again in April 2016, after he was charged with battery of their mother resulting in bodily injury.After his murder conviction, Warren Circuit Court concluded that S.K did not have the ability to care for his children and that any sort of visitation or reunification with him would only further traumatize the kids. It also ruled that the reasons for their placement outside of S.K.’s care would not be remedied, and that the termination of his parental rights was in the children’s best interest.S.K. appealed, arguing an abuse of discretion occurred in allowing the children’s therapist to testify concerning statements they made during therapy, that DCS failed to prove it made reasonable reunification efforts, and that the termination order lacked sufficient evidence. The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected all of S.K.’s claims in In re the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of S.K., E.K., and M.K. (Minor Children), and S.K., Sr. (Father) v. Indiana Department of Child Services, 18A-JT-2200, first finding that there was no inadmissible hearsay in the therapist’s testimony of the children’s fear of and anger with S.K.Those statements — which would be harmless even if admitted hearsay — were based primarily on the therapist’s observations of the children and the statements made to her during therapy, as well as the treatment plan and the children’s therapy goals, the appellate court concluded.It further found DCS’s failure to offer reunification services for S.K. and the children was not a violation of his due process rights based on his incarceration, lengthy sentence and the fact that he killed their mother.Lastly, the appellate court found there was sufficient evidence to support the termination of S.K.’s parental rights. It therefore concluded that termination was in the children’s best interests and was supported by the opinions of their therapist and DCS service providers.“In this case, Father destroyed his relationship with his children when he murdered their mother and burned down their home. Father caused significant harm and trauma to his children,” Judge Paul D. Mathias wrote. “Even considering the possibility that Father’s convictions might eventually be reversed on appeal, the children require stability immediately. They have suffered long enough.”FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmail
The Vermont Agency of Transportation opened a nearly 20-mile stretch of Route 100 between West Bridgewater and Ludlow Friday that had been closed since Tropical Storm Irene. The roadway opening allows the public for the first time since the storm struck on August 28 to access the Calvin Coolidge Homestead, which is located in Plymouth along Route 100A. The national landmark plans an immediate opening, just in time for foliage season. “We continue to make progress and restore mobility throughout the storm-damaged regions of Vermont,” said VTrans Secretary Brian Searles. “Route 100 is one of our most important north-south corridors, and this week we were able to reopen two key segments. On Tuesday we restored traffic through Granville, and today we opened access from West Bridgewater to Ludlow, which is a favorite destination for many Vermont visitors.”The Coolidge homestead currently is accessible only from Route 100 in Plymouth. The landmark also usually is accessible from Route 4, but that access remains closed due to a closed bridge along the northern segment of Route 100A.Route 100 from West Bridgewater to Ludlow was badly damaged in several locations. Water washed away multiple road segments, and in some places completely destroyed the highway. Crews worked tirelessly for more than three weeks to make enough repairs so that the road could reopen in time for foliage.While the road is now open to the public, work continues. Several stretches remain gravel, and repairs to guardrail and roadway shoulders are still underway. Motorists should expect short construction delays in some locations. Questions regarding storm-damaged roads and bridges related to Tropical Storm Irene can be answered by calling VTrans’ Irene Storm Center at 1-800-Vermont. People can also visit VTrans’ website at www.aot.state.vt.us(link is external) where they can sign up for travel updates for their mobile phone, and follow the agency’s progress on both Facebook and Twitter.
7SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Signaling yet another Trump Administration effort to remake the CFPB, the agency Wednesday announced that in the coming weeks, it will solicit public comment on agency enforcement, supervision, rulemaking, market monitoring, and education activities.The Trump Administration had been highly critical of the agency as it was run by former Director Richard Cordray, contending that Cordray was overly-aggressive. The agency, currently run by Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, is expected to take a much less aggressive approach to enforcement.For instance, the agency on Tuesday announced it might revise the CFPB’s controversial payday lending rules.On Wednesday, the agency said it will be calling for “evidence to ensure the Bureau is fulfilling its proper and appropriate functions to best protect consumers.” continue reading »
Newly elected Undergraduate Student Government President-elect Christian Kurth and Vice President-elect Ryan Park want candidates outside of USG to serve in their executive cabinet.New era · USG President-elect Christian Kurth and Vice President-elect Ryan Park emphasized their experience during the February USG election. — Ani Kolangian | Daily TrojanThe executive cabinet works closely with the president and vice president during the year. The positions available in the cabinet include senior director of communication, chief of staff and treasurer.They will be evaluating the applications on a number of different criteria, but Kurth said that prior USG experience is not necessarily required. Rather, the candidates will be evaluated on their dedication to the university and their ability to lead others to work as advocates for positive change.“It’s important to us to have students who want to tangibly change the university for the better,” Kurth said. “We have a lot of talented kids in the system already who want to continue to be in the system, but we’re leaving the door open for other students who want to contribute new and different ideas.”Current USG Vice President Vinnie Prasad said that rather than only considering students with USG experience, Kurth and Park will aim to diversify the committees by looking outwards to students with other backgrounds.“It’s really important for us to reach out to other areas of the school where students don’t really know about these leadership positions,” Prasad said. “We need to do a better job of reaching out to athletes, international students, commuter students and other groups that are big parts of the student body, who should have a say in how their school is run.”Kurth and Park will also be hiring a new executive director and finance director to head USG’s Program Board. Students can apply for director and assistant director positions to head the Funding Board and each of the six committees within USG’s Advocacy Branch.Kurth said that a large number of students from the Greek community, in particular, are involved with the committees of the Advocacy Branch, and that a more diverse group of leaders is needed to accurately represent the interests of the student body as a whole.“The majority of students who end up in the advocacy branch are Greek, and that’s great,” Kurth said. “But we really want to excite people in other areas of the campus who come from different backgrounds and who have different ideas and opinions.”Applications for USG leadership positions became available Tuesday night on the USG website and are due March 15.