In re Interest of Chelsea M.

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In re Interest of Chelsea M.

Caselaw No.
Filed on
Tuesday, December 17, 2013

SUMMARY: Adjudication was proper where the evidence established that the child’s stepparent pushed her, slapped her multiple times, called her stupid, threw her against a wall and pushed a heavy vase off a table toward her.

Chelsea, age 16, got into a heated argument with her mother, Theresa, and step-father, Stacey, on November 2, 2011, after revealing that she was pregnant. On November 7, 2011, Chelsea told a school counselor and the State filed a 3a petition, which was amended in September 2012. An adjudication hearing was held in February and March 2013. Chelsea testified that Stacey pushed her into a chair, slapped her multiple times, called her stupid, pushed a heavy vase toward her face and pushed her against a wall. She also testified that Theresa was present and didn’t try to intervene. Chelsea’s boyfriend testified similarly. Theresa and Stacey both testified and admitted they were very upset upon learning she was pregnant but denied the physical assaults. Stacey did admit he threw the vase but said he didn’t intend for it to go toward Chelsea. On April 11, 2013, the juvenile court adjudicated Chelsea within the meaning of 43-247(3)(a). Theresa appealed.

The Nebraska Court of Appeals affirmed the adjudication order. It referenced Chelsea’s and her boyfriend’s testimony, and noted that the juvenile court found her boyfriend’s testimony to be credible and the testimony of Theresa and Stacey to not be credible. Reviewing the evidence, the Court of Appeals concluded that the evidence was sufficient to find Chelsea within the meaning of 3a.