In a recent Superior Court opinion, Elliott Greenleaf’s Aimee L. Kumer won a rehearing on the sufficiency of the length of a Protection From Abuse order (“PFA”) issued to protect a minor child. Representing the minor child pro bono through the Montgomery Child Advocacy Project, Ms. Kumer, serving as counsel and guardian ad litem for the minor child, obtained a rare rehearing on the question of the length of time adequate to protect the minor, who was the victim of sexual abuse. The trial court found the alleged abuse was demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence, but only entered a PFA for a five and a half months. On appeal, Ms. Kumer argued that given the nature of the abuse, the trial court abused its discretion in failing to enter a longer order.
The Superior Court agreed, finding the short length of the order conflicted with the PFA Act’s stated goal of protecting “victims of domestic violence from those who perpetuate such abuse, with the primary goal of advancing prevention of physical and sexual abuse,” and reinstated the PFA, to remain in effecting pending a new hearing that would consider the results of a Children and Youth investigation, criminal investigation, custody order, and any necessary additional conditions to protect the minor’s safety.