ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES APPELLEE
FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, SIXTH DIVISION [NO.
60CV-17-3366] HONORABLE TIMOTHY DAVIS FOX, JUDGE.
Rosenzweig, for appellant.
Corbyn, Office of Chief Counsel, for appellee.
J. GLADWIN, Judge.
appeals the Pulaski County Circuit Court's order
affirming the administrative decision that he had committed
sexual abuse of a minor and that his name should be placed on
the Arkansas Child Maltreatment Central
Registry. J.C. argues that the agency's decision
is arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion. We
August 23, 2013, a report was made to the child-abuse hotline
regarding the alleged maltreatment of C.K., born September
23, 1998. After an investigation by the Arkansas Department
of Human Service (DHS), a finding of child maltreatment was
entered against J.C., who timely requested a hearing. The
hearing was stayed due to pending criminal charges against
J.C. related to the alleged abuse of C.K., but those charges
were nolle prossed. An administrative hearing was held on
November 29, 2016. C.K. did not appear, but two videotaped
recordings of her interviews with investigators and her
written statement were admitted as evidence. C.K. alleged
that while she and J.C. were alone with her in his locked
classroom, J.C. put his hand down her pants and touched her
underneath her underwear on her private area. She also said
that he had kissed her. He later asked her forgiveness and
told her he had been praying about it.
Harris, an investigator with the Crimes Against Children
Division (CACD) of the Arkansas State Police, testified that
she investigated C.K.'s allegations and spoke with her in
a recorded interview. C.K. told Harris that she would have
lunch in J.C.'s classroom and that he once had tickled
her. She said that they had gone to the River Market together
during lunch. C.K. told Harris that J.C. had touched her on
her "lady area" and on her butt. In her written
statement, C.K. stated that J.C. had put his hands inside her
panties and said he wanted to feel her once. Harris testified
that it was not uncommon for children to delay disclosing
sexual abuse or sexual contact. She said that the basis for
her true finding of sexual contact was that after an in-depth
interview with C.K. and reviewing C.K.'s written
statement, Detective Trent of the Little Rock Police
Department sought an arrest warrant. Harris stated, "We
can't go against law enforcement." She also said
that after the charges had been dropped, her "attitude
toward the case" did not change. She said that
child-maltreatment law is different than criminal law. Harris
said that C.K.'s shoplifting charge over the
"intervening weekend" had no bearing on her true
finding for sexual contact.
said that she spoke to Ms. Rook, who works at C.K.'s
school. Ms. Rook told Harris that J.C. had talked to her
about C.K. being upset with him for giving her a
"B." He had told Rook that C.K. wanted to start a
book club and that she had been texting him. Rook also said
that J.C. had stated that he and C.K. had lunch together in
his classroom; Rook had told him that doing so was not a good
idea; and J.C. wanted to argue over the issue.
said that she had talked to J.C., who denied an interview but
told her he believed C.K.'s allegation was in retaliation
for a grade of "86" that he had given her. Harris
also talked to C.K.'s mother and obtained written
statements from other students.
testified that he was C.K.'s English teacher and that she
had eaten lunch with him in his classroom. In response to a
written allegation against him by another student, he said
that he had taken that student into the hallway to address
her wearing a tank top that exposed her cleavage. He said the
school had a strict dress-code policy, and the student had
violated the policy. He said that it was his job to reprimand
her, but he had done so outside the classroom. He said that
he had given her a break by not sending her to the
said that it was not against school policy to take a student
off campus for lunch and that he had not known he was
supposed to sign out with the student. He said that his
mentor, Mr. Sisk, who is another English teacher, took
students off campus for lunch. He said that this was his
first teaching job out of college, and the allegation
occurred six weeks into his job. J.C. had wanted to encourage
the formation of a book club, and he said that C.K. was part
of the club.
denied that anything sexual had occurred between him and C.K.
He said that when C.K. failed to turn in a homework
assignment, her grade was lowered to a "B," and she
had been very upset. He described her as having gritted
teeth, a red face, and teary eyes. C.K. told him that he had
embarrassed her in front of the class when he had called her
down. He then talked to Ms. Rook because he had never seen
C.K. behave in that manner. He said that C.K. had disclosed
to him that her parents were separated and that she was
having a hard time. He said that he had wanted the counselor
to talk to C.K. and that he had talked to Ms. Rook about
C.K.'s behavior. He told Ms. Rook that C.K. had eaten
lunch in his classroom and that they had texted each other.
He said that a counselor at school talked to C.K. and that
C.K. denied that he had "done anything." He said
that it was a week later that C.K. made the allegations
administrative law judge (ALJ) issued an opinion after
reviewing the ...