In re Ma.H., et al., No. 19S-JT-323 (Ind. 2019)
Nature of Case: Following allegations of sexual abuse, a minor child was removed from the home of the mother and father. The lower court ordered, amongst other things, for the father to partake in a sex offender treatment program of his choosing. The father objected on the grounds that the treatment program required polygraphs, and as such, violated his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. Indiana Child Protection Services petitioned to terminate the parents’ rights after the father failed to successfully complete a treatment program, and the trial court granted the petition. The mother and father appealed, claiming amongst other things that the father’s Fifth Amendment rights were violated, and the Indiana Court of Appeals agreed. DCS petitioned the Indiana Supreme Court for transfer, which was granted.
Holding: Indiana Supreme Court affirmed the termination of parental rights. The father’s Fifth Amendment rights were not violated, as the trial court order did not specify that he had to admit to criminal wrongdoing — only that he had to complete a sex offender treatment program of his choosing. The father chose a treatment program that required polygraphs as a component of it, but that choice did not result in a violation of his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.