In re S.G.T.

175 Ga. App. 475, 333 S.E.2d 445 (1985)

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In re S.G.T.

Georgia Court of Appeals
175 Ga. App. 475, 333 S.E.2d 445 (1985)

Facts

S.G.T.’s mother married a man (the adoptive father) when S.G.T. was three years old. Two years later, the mother died, and the adoptive father adopted S.G.T. The Hall County Department of Family & Children Services (DFCS) (plaintiff) received a report that S.G.T. was being abused and an investigation followed. A caseworker found that the adoptive father was hostile to and ridiculed S.G.T. The matter was closed because the caseworker failed to conduct visits to S.G.T.’s home. The matter was reopened when school officials reported that nine-year-old S.G.T. had an injury. S.G.T. ran away from home, and when law enforcement contacted the adoptive father, he was willing for S.G.T. to spend the night in jail. Later that night, in the presence of S.G.T., the adoptive father offered to relinquish his parental rights. The adoptive father consented to S.G.T.’s adoption but withdrew his consent. S.G.T. was placed in foster care with his maternal grandparents. DFCS filed a petition for termination of the adoptive father’s parental rights, alleging that S.G.T. was a deprived child. At trial, S.G.T. was 12 years old. S.G.T., his brother, S.G.T.’s stepmother, and employees of S.G.T.’s school and DFCS testified about numerous incidents in which the adoptive father emotionally and physically abused and neglected S.G.T. The adoptive father presented testimony that he attempted to help S.G.T. with his emotional problems. The trial court determined that S.G.T. was a deprived child and terminated the adoptive father’s parental rights. The adoptive father appealed. One of his arguments was that there was insufficient evidence to support a finding of deprivation.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Benham, J.)

Concurrence (Deen, J.)

Dissent (Pope, J.)

Dissent (Banke, C.J.)

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