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Family Ct Act § 812(1) provides that Family Court has jurisdiction over family offense proceedings arising from certain acts committed by a respondent against a member of the same family or household. Before 2008, the statutory definition of this phrase embraced only persons who were related by consanguinity or affinity, who were or had been married to one another, or who shared a common child. In 2008, the Legislature expanded the scope of the statute's protection by amending the definition to include persons who are not related by consanguinity or affinity and who are or have been in an intimate relationship regardless of whether such persons have lived together at any time. (§ 812[e]).
In 2012, respondent-petitioner Samantha I., commenced this Family Ct Act article 8 proceeding on behalf of her daughter Emily K. alleging that appellant-respondent Luis J. had committed various family offenses against her daughter. Appellant and the daughter were 13 years old when the petition was filed, and they had been in an on-and-off dating relationship for several years. After hearing, the Family Court granted the petition and found that the daughter and appellant were in an intimate relationship within the meaning of Family Ct Act § 812 (1) (e) and that appellant had committed the family offenses of forcible touching and sexual misconduct. After a dispositional hearing, the court issued a two-year order of protection in the daughter's favor. Appellant-respondent appealed both orders arguing that the petitioner lacked standing to bring this family offense proceeding.
Were the orders issued against the appellant proper?
The court affirmed the order and held that the family court properly granted an order of protection to the respondent, on behalf of her child, against appellant as it had subject matter jurisdiction because the child and the appellant had been in an intimate relationship under Family Ct Act § 812(1)(e) due to having dated on-and-off for several years. Also, appellant had engaged in the family offenses of forcible touching and sexual misconduct. The court also decided that the appellant’s challenge to the respondent’s lack of standing was unpreserved because it was not raised in the family court, moreover, it lacked merit because she had standing based on her relationship as the child's parent.