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Mother found guilty of child abuse for allowing husband to shower with teenage daughter

By Mason White 12:57 PM May 22, 2014
Couple in shower illustration 

By: Devansh Dutt
A woman was charged and convicted of child abuse for allowing her husband to shower with her children.

The New Jersey woman appealed the case and attempted to prove her innocence.

However, the appeals court upheld the guilty verdict.

The mother, identified in court documents as Maureen R., lost her appeal of abuse and neglect of her 14-year-old daughter Darlene R., by allowing the father of the girl, Robert R., to shower with her.

According to the appellate decision, the Division of Youth and Family Services of New Jersey, began investigating the family after Maureen’s 15-year -old niece told her counselor that her uncle sexually abused her while living with the family for a short time.

During the investigation, the girl said that her uncle forced her to have sex with him on a few occasions, and also tried to convince her to join him in the shower.

The niece named Tara, said that it was normal practice for her uncle to shower with his own children, and for him to walk around naked.

When questioned, Darlene admitted that she showered with her father, but said that he never sexually abused her. “We just soaped and talked about the day,” she said.

Maureen said that she had no knowledge of Tara being sexually abused by her husband, but admitted to knowing that Robert took showers with all of their children since they were young.

Maureen said that the showers were “innocent” and that Robert “did not do anything inappropriate,” according to court documents.

In 2012, a judge ruled that Robert had sexually abused his niece, and both parents had abused the daughter, because he “showered with a developing teenager, weather it is your daughter or not, it is abuse,” the judge ruled.

The mother was convicted of child abuse because she “did not exercise a minimum degree of care to protect her daughter,” the judge added.

Maureen appealed the decision, saying that there was insufficient evidence of harm or proof of her daughter being in “imminent danger,” but the appeals court disagreed with her.

The appellate panel found that “a reasonable parent would perceive the risks inherent in the behavior here.”

“As a mother, Maureen had a fundamental duty to know and protect her children from potential risks in the environment, including those that may come from the other parent,” the ruling stated.

“Allowing a grown man to shower in the nude with a developing teenage girl creates a substantial risk of harm, not just of sexual abuse, but psychological damage to the child,” the court ruled.