Appeal from the County Court at Law No. 2 Ector County, Texas
Trial Court Cause No. CC2-3537-PC
Wright, C.J., Willson, J., and Bailey, J.
M. BAILEY JUSTICE
trial court entered an order in which it terminated the
parental rights of the father of I.R.H. The father appeals.
On appeal, he presents three issues in which he challenges
the sufficiency of the evidence. We affirm.
Standards and Findings
of parental rights must be supported by clear and convincing
evidence. Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 161.001(b) (West Supp.
2016). To determine on appeal if the evidence is legally
sufficient in a parental termination case, we review all of
the evidence in the light most favorable to the finding and
determine whether a rational trier of fact could have formed
a firm belief or conviction that its finding was true. In
re J.P.B., 180 S.W.3d 570, 573 (Tex. 2005). To determine
if the evidence is factually sufficient, we give due
deference to the finding and determine whether, on the entire
record, a factfinder could reasonably form a firm belief or
conviction about the truth of the allegations against the
parent. In re C.H., 89 S.W.3d 17, 25-26 (Tex. 2002).
To terminate parental rights, it must be shown by clear and
convincing evidence that the parent has committed one of the
acts listed in Section 161.001(b)(1)(A)-(T) and that
termination is in the best interest of the child. Fam. §
respect to the best interest of a child, no unique set of
factors need be proved. In re C.J.O., 325 S.W.3d
261, 266 (Tex. App.-Eastland 2010, pet. denied). But courts
may use the non-exhaustive Holley factors to shape
their analysis. Holley v. Adams, 544 S.W.2d 367,
371-72 (Tex. 1976). These include, but are not limited to,
(1) the desires of the child, (2) the emotional and physical
needs of the child now and in the future, (3) the emotional
and physical danger to the child now and in the future, (4)
the parental abilities of the individuals seeking custody,
(5) the programs available to assist these individuals to
promote the best interest of the child, (6) the plans for the
child by these individuals or by the agency seeking custody,
(7) the stability of the home or proposed placement, (8) the
acts or omissions of the parent that may indicate that the
existing parent-child relationship is not a proper one, and
(9) any excuse for the acts or omissions of the parent.
Id. Additionally, evidence that proves one or more
statutory grounds for termination may also constitute
evidence illustrating that termination is in the child's
best interest. C.J.O., 325 S.W.3d at 266.
case, the trial court found that Appellant committed two of
the acts listed in Section 161.001(b)(1)-those found in
subsections (D) and (E).
the trial court found that Appellant had knowingly placed or
knowingly allowed the child to remain in conditions or
surroundings that endangered the child's physical or
emotional well-being and that Appellant had engaged in
conduct or knowingly placed the child with persons who
engaged in conduct that endangered the child's physical
or emotional well-being. The trial court also found, pursuant
to Section 161.001(b)(2), that termination of Appellant's
parental rights would be in the best interest of the child.
Appellant challenges each of these findings in his issues on
Department of Family and Protective Services removed I.R.H.
from her adoptive parents, Appellant and his then-wife, when
I.R.H. was three years old. The removal stemmed from
allegations that involved Appellant and I.R.H.'s older
sisters. The allegations were that Appellant had sexually
abused his biological daughter, who was sixteen years old,
and stepdaughter, who was fifteen years old. The stepdaughter
testified that Appellant sexually abused both girls in a
hotel room while they were on a trip to Lubbock. She
testified that Appellant provided them alcohol, which he
insisted they drink. Appellant admitted during
cross-examination that he gave them alcohol. The stepdaughter
said that Appellant then proceeded to lift his daughter's
shirt and "kiss her on the breasts" and also made
the daughter touch his penis. The stepdaughter also said that
Appellant tried "to touch [her] breasts." She
testified that Appellant tried to watch them change into
their pajamas and that he stood next to her four times while
she tried to go to sleep. Finally, the stepdaughter testified
that the next morning, while the three of them were driving,
Appellant told them that he had a gun under his seat and
that, if they talked about the events of the previous night,
"something bad" would happen. The Department also
introduced into evidence a surveillance video from
Appellant's house showing him inappropriately touching
his daughter. Appellant admitted during his testimony that he
had an anger disorder and that he threatened to kill himself
and Child Protective Services workers.
Department placed I.R.H. in her adoptive mother's home
after the mother completed her service plan. I.R.H. has done
well since being placed with her mother, who also has help
providing care for I.R.H. from her daughter and her
daughter's boyfriend. The conservatorship caseworker
testified that it would be in I.R.H.'s best interest for
Appellant's parental rights to be terminated. The
attorney ad litem for I.R.H. informed the trial court that
termination of Appellant's parental rights would be in
I.R.H.'s best interest.
record contains clear and convincing evidence that Appellant
had engaged in conduct or knowingly placed the child with
persons who engaged in conduct that endangered the
child's physical or emotional well-being-as required to
support a finding under Section 161.001(b)(1)(E). Under
subsection (E), the relevant inquiry is whether evidence
exists that the endangerment of the child's well-being
was the direct result of the parent's conduct, including
acts, omissions, or failures to act. In re D.O., 338
S.W.3d 29, 33 (Tex. App.-Eastland 2011, no pet.).
Additionally, termination under subsection (E) must be based
on more than a single act or omission; a voluntary,
deliberate, and conscious course of conduct by the parent is
required. In re D.T., 34 S.W.3d 625, 634 (Tex.
App.-Fort Worth 2000, pet. denied); In re K.M.M.,
993 S.W.2d 225, 228 (Tex. App.-Eastland 1999, no pet.). The
offending conduct does not need to be directed at the child,
nor does the child actually have to suffer an injury. In
re J.O.A., 283 S.W.3d 336, 345 (Tex. 2009).
Additionally, "[e]vidence of sexual abuse of one child
is sufficient to support a finding of endangerment with
respect to other children." In re J.P.T., No.
14-16-00156-CV, 2016 WL 3947756, at *4 (Tex. App.-Houston
[14th Dist.] July 19, 2016, pet. denied) (mem. op.) (citing
In re R.W., 129 S.W.3d 732, 742 (Tex. App.- Fort
Worth 2004, pet. denied)). Evidence of a propensity toward
violent behavior is also evidence of endangerment. See In
re J.I.T.P., 99 S.W.3d 841, 845 (Tex. App.- Houston
[14th Dist.] 2003, no pet.).
evidence indicated that Appellant sexually abused his
daughter and his stepdaughter. Although Appellant denied that
he did anything wrong and the daughter provided conflicting
testimony regarding the sexual abuse, the trial court was the
"sole judge of the credibility of the witnesses"
and "was free to disregard any or all" of the
testimony of any of the witnesses. In re S.R., 452
S.W.3d 351, 365 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2014, pet.
denied). The evidence also demonstrated that Appellant had
anger issues and made violent threats. Thus, clear and
convincing evidence supported the finding made by the trial
court pursuant to subsection (E) of Section 161.001(b)(1). We
hold that the evidence is legally and factually sufficient to
support that finding, and we overrule Appellant's second