Editor’s note: This story was corrected Sept. 9, 2021, after corrections were made to the Indiana Court of Appeals opinion.
The Indiana Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld a protective order requested by a father on behalf of his son after a domestic incident occurred with his mother’s former boyfriend that left the kid with a bloodied nose.
On Oct. 24, 2020, 6-year-old G.H. was at his mother’s house when an incident took place with her then-boyfriend that left the child injured.
Police responded to a domestic disturbance at the mother’s home, where they found G.H.’s nose bleeding and a red mark on his face, with “blood throughout the bathroom.” The child’s father, K.H., also observed that his son was acting timid and unlike his usual self.
Taylor Jones, who at the time was dating the child’s mother and considered himself “almost like a stepfather,” had said that G.H. was arguing with his 2-year-old sibling and that Jones needed to separate the kids. Later on, however, Jones testified that G.H. told his mom that Jones had “hit him.”
The man was criminally charged with Level 5 felony battery resulting in bodily injury to a person under 14 years of age and Level 6 felony domestic battery.
Two days after the incident, K.H., as his son’s next friend, filed a petition for an order for protection against Jones alleging he had “committed repeated acts of harassment against the child.” The petition, however, didn’t identify the relationship between Jones and G.H.
The Fulton Circuit Court issued an ex parte order for protection. Then, at a subsequent hearing, the trial court ruled that while the petition incorrectly alleged repeated acts of harassment against G.H., Jones had a sufficient relationship with G.H., and K.H. had established by the greater weight of the evidence that domestic or family violence occurred sufficient to justify the issuance of the protection order.
The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed in Taylor Jones v. G.H., by next friend, K.H., 21A-PO-555.
“Child is a minor child, and Mother dated Jones; she engaged in a sexual relationship with Jones; and she has a child in common with Jones. Accordingly, pursuant to subsection (b), Child clearly qualifies as a ‘family or household member’ of Jones,” Judge Elizabeth Tavitas wrote for the appellate panel, citing Indiana Code § 34-6-2-44.8.
The panel further found sufficient evidence existed to demonstrate that Jones caused physical harm to G.H. and, as a result, committed domestic or family violence against the child.