IN THE MATTER OF THE PARENTAL RIGHTS AS TO S.L.; N.R.B.; H.R.B.; AND W.C.B.
STATE OF NEVADA DEPARTMENT OF FAMILY SERVICES; S.L.; N.R.B.; H.R.B.; AND W.C.B., MINORS, Respondents. DONALD B., Appellant, IN THE MATTER OF THE PARENTAL RIGHTS AS TO S.L.; N.R.B.; H.R.B.; AND W.C.B. MELISSA L., Appellant,
STATE OF NEVADA DEPARTMENT OF FAMILY SERVICES; S.L.; N.R.B.; H.R.B.; AND W.C.B., MINORS, Respondents.
Consolidated appeals from a district court order terminating
appellants' parental rights as to their four children.
Eighth Judicial District Court, Clark County; Cynthia N.
Offices of Michael I. Gowdey and Michael I. Gowdey, Las
Vegas, for Appellant Melissa L.
& Draskovich, LLP, and Robert M. Draskovich, Las Vegas,
for Appellant Donald B.
B. Wolfson, District Attorney, and Janne M. Hanrahan, Deputy
District Attorney, Clark County, for Respondent Nevada
Department of Family Services.
Aid Center of Southern Nevada, Inc., and Stephen J. Dahl and
Amy B. Honodel, Las Vegas, for Respondent S.L.
Anderson and Lauren D. Calvert, Las Vegas, for Respondents
N.R.B., H.R.B., and W.C.B.
CHERRY, PARRAGUIRRE and STIGLICH, JJ.
parental rights were terminated because their oldest child
was physically and mentally abused over a period of years
while in appellants' home, the younger children witnessed
the abuse and were instructed to lie about it, and appellants
failed to address the abuse in therapy and continued to
insist that the child's injuries were self-inflicted. On
appeal, appellants argue that termination of parental rights
based on their refusal to admit to the abuse violated their
Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. We
conclude that although appellants cannot be compelled to
admit to a crime, they can be required to engage in
meaningful therapy designed to ensure the children's
safety if returned to the home. Because appellants did not
engage in meaningful therapy and did not demonstrate the
insight and behavioral changes necessary to protect the
children from future abuse, we conclude that there was no
violation of their Fifth Amendment rights. We further
conclude that substantial evidence supports the district
court's findings of parental fault and that termination
was in the children's best interests.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Donald B. and Melissa L. have four children: S.L., N.R.B.,
H.R.B., and W.C.B. In December 2013, then-fifteen-year-old
S.L. appeared at school with a black eye and disclosed to a
friend that Donald had hit her. When Child Protective
Services (CPS) interviewed S.L., she claimed that she had hit
her eye on a cabinet when unloading the dishwasher. A
subsequent investigation revealed that S.L. had multiple
abrasions and bruises that were consistent with abuse. All
four children were removed from the home and placed in the
custody of respondent Clark County Department of Family
Services (DFS) in January 2014. The children were later
placed in their current foster home in May 2014. Once in
foster care, the children began to make disclosures to their
foster mother about the nature and extent of the abuse S.L.
endured while in appellants' home.
filed a protective custody petition alleging that the
children were in need of protection because Donald physically
abused S.L., Melissa knew of the ongoing abuse but failed to
protect S.L., and the three younger children were unsafe in
the home. The petition also alleged that Donald had been
convicted of felony manslaughter and corporal punishment of a
child for the death of his infant child in the 1980s.
and Melissa entered pleas of no contest to the petition and
were given court-approved case plans. Donald's case plan
noted that Donald denied abusing S.L. and required that he
acknowledge that S.L. was physically abused and the emotional
damage that it has caused the children, provide a home free
from physical abuse, complete physical abuse classes and
follow all recommendations, show behavioral changes, and
develop an appropriate discipline plan. Melissa's case
plan noted that she feels that S.L. is to blame for the
family's problems and required that Melissa complete
non-offending parenting classes and follow all
recommendations, and that she acknowledge that S.L. was
physically abused and identify where she did not provide
and Melissa engaged in the requirements of their case plans
including an assessment at Red Rock Psychological Services,
successful completion of the ABC Therapy program, and
participation in individual therapy at Healthy Minds. The
assessments from Red Rock found both parents at a high risk
for physical abuse/neglect recidivism and recommended
individual therapy to address Donald's abuse and
Melissa's position of denial. Both parents continued to
deny that Donald had abused S.L., and they insisted that the
child's injuries were self-inflicted. In the meantime, a
criminal case was filed against appellants, and the criminal
court entered an order for no contact between appellants and
the children. Recorded calls between appellants while
incarcerated on the criminal charges contained disparaging