Mother filed a petition for order of protection on behalf of herself and her three minor children.   She alleged that stepfather sexually molested his five-year-old stepdaughter.  She also alleged that the three children were confused and affected emotionally.

The trial court judge issued a two year order of protection in favor of mother and the children. Stepfather appealed.   He argues that his stepdaughter’s outcry of sexual abuse should have been excluded as  hearsay.

The Appellate Court found that it was not hearsay.  The order of protection would stand.  The court stated that the stepdaughter’s fear and age made her unable to testify in court.   Therefore, statements made by her would be allowed in court to prove the allegations against stepfather.

There was sufficient other evidence to support a logical and reasonable inference that stepfather committed the act of sexual abuse described by stepdaughter.    The stepdaughter’s out-of-court statements regarding the stepfather’s alleged act of sexual abuse were reliable. Therefore, the statements were admissible.

Two requirements must be satisfied to admit an out-of-court statement made by a child under the age of 13 involving an unlawful sexual act.  (1) the court conducts a hearing outside the jury’s presence and finds that the time, content, and circumstances of the statement provide sufficient safeguards of reliability.   (2) the child either (a) testifies at the proceeding or (b) is unavailable as a witness and there is corroborative evidence of the act that is the subject of the hearsay statement.

Trinidad v. Augustin, 2017 IL App (1st) 171148.