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Ogborn v. Arkansas Department of Human Services

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division I

November 8, 2017

JANEFER OGBORN APPELLANT
v.
ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES APPELLEE

         APPEAL FROM THE BENTON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT NO. 04CV-15-765 HONORABLE THOMAS SMITH, JUDGE

          Keith, Miller, Butler, Schneider & Pawlik, PLLC, by: Mason L. Boling, for appellant.

          Mary Goff, Office of Chief Counsel, for appellee.

          Chrestman Group, PLLC, by: Keith L. Chrestman, attorney ad litem for minor children.

          PHILLIP T. WHITEAKER, JUDGE

         Janefer Ogborn (Ogborn) appeals the administrative decision of the Office of Appeals and Hearings (OAH) of the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) to place her name on the Child Maltreatment Central Registry. We affirm.

         I. Facts and Procedural History

         On August 9, 2013, the Bella Vista Police Department (BVPD) was notified of a matter involving the possible child maltreatment of S.O. (age 15), K.O. (age 12), and A.O. (age 11). The children informed officers that they were forced to stay inside their room for long periods of time with little contact with the outside world and were often forced to go without adequate food or drink. From this initial contact, three separate but concurrent proceedings were commenced against Ogborn: a dependency-neglect proceeding, criminal proceedings, and the child-maltreatment-registration proceeding, which is the basis of this appeal.

         A. Dependency-Neglect Proceeding

         DHS was notified by BVPD of the children's condition. DHS removed the children from the parents, Janefer and James Ogborn.[1] DHS did so because of the children's general appearance: they were underweight and undersized for their ages, they were extremely thin and emaciated, their skin was pale, and their eyes were very sensitive to light. DHS also removed the children because of the parental treatment within the home: the children were often forced to stand or sit cross-legged in their room for extended periods of time; they were not allowed to sleep in their beds and were forced to sleep on the hardwood floors in their room as punishment; and their meals consisted of oatmeal or bread with a smear of peanut butter. Additionally, DHS removed the children because of the living conditions within the home. The children all shared the same bedroom, which was painted in a military-type camouflage pattern with only a single lightbulb for lighting. The only window in the room was covered with cloth and sheets with the edges taped to prevent them from looking out and sunlight from entering. The room itself was very clean and tidy, but the bunkbeds did not appear to have been slept in. After removal, DHS initiated a dependency-neglect proceeding in the Benton County Circuit Court.

         The Benton County Circuit Court held an adjudication hearing on October 8, 2013. At the hearing, the circuit court received into evidence the affidavit of facts outlining the facts recited above, the case plan, some photos, the children's medical records, and Ogborn's stipulation to a dependency-neglect finding. The court then found the children were dependent-neglected as to Ogborn based on inadequate food, malnutrition, environmental neglect, and repeated and extreme cruelty. She did not appeal the adjudication order.

         B. Criminal Proceeding

         After the BVPD responded to the complaints of possible child maltreatment, the State filed criminal charges against Ogborn stemming from these allegations. She was charged with three counts of first-degree endangering the welfare of a minor, one count of aggravated assault, three counts of first-degree false imprisonment, and one count of third-degree battery. She proceeded to a jury trial on these charges. The trial court ultimately directed a verdict on all but the charge of third-degree battery, and the jury subsequently acquitted Ogborn on that count.

         C. Child-Maltreatment-Registration Proceeding

         Simultaneously with the dependency-neglect action, the Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children Division (CACD) conducted a child-maltreatment investigation. On October 9, 2013, CACD issued a notice of true finding of abuse/neglect and that, as a result, Ogborn's name would be placed on the child-maltreatment central registry. Ogborn timely filed a notice of appeal and a request for an ...


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