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Cruse v. C.C.

Court of Appeals of Indiana

August 19, 2016

Joshua Perry Cruse, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
C.C., Appellee-Plaintiff

         Appeal from the Johnson Circuit Court Trial Court Cause No. 41C01-1506-PO-331 The Honorable K. Mark Loyd, Judge

          Attorney for Appellant Glen E. Koch II Boren, Oliver & Coffey, LLP Martinsville, Indiana

          BAKER, JUDGE.

         [1] Joshua Cruse appeals the protective order entered by the trial court preventing him from having contact with his ex-wife, C.C., except to communicate regarding their children. Cruse argues there is insufficient evidence supporting the protective order. We agree, and reverse.

         [2] In June 2015, Cruse and C.C. were divorced. They have three children together. After several incidents involving verbal disagreements between the parents in front of or near the children, C.C. filed a petition for a protective order on June 18, 2015. She did not seek to prevent Cruse from having contact with the children, seeking only to limit the contact he was permitted to have with her. The trial court granted an ex parte protective order the same day. Following a November 24, 2015, hearing, the trial court reaffirmed the protective order, which prohibited Cruse from communicating with C.C. except on parenting time issues. Any communication regarding parenting time was ordered to be done in writing or through their parenting coordinator. Cruse now appeals.

         [3] Initially, we note that C.C. has not filed an appellee's brief. We need not develop an argument on her behalf, and may reverse if Cruse is able to establish prima facie error-error on the face of the order being appealed. Evans v. Thomas, 976 N.E.2d 125, 126 (Ind.Ct.App. 2012).

         [4] A person who has been a victim of "domestic or family violence" may file a petition for a protective order. Ind. Code § 34-26-5-2. "Domestic or family violence" is defined as follows:

the occurrence of at least one (1) of the following acts committed by a family or household member:
(1) Attempting to cause, threatening to cause, or causing physical harm to another family or household member.
(2) Placing a family or household member in fear of physical harm.
(3) Causing a family or household member to involuntarily engage in sexual activity by force, threat of force, or duress.
(4) Beating (as described in IC 35-46-3-0.5(2)), torturing (as described in IC 35-46-3-0.5(5)), mutilating (as described in IC 35-46-3-0.5(3)), or killing a vertebrate animal without justification with the intent to threaten, intimidate, coerce, harass, or terrorize a family or household member.
For purposes of IC 34-26-5, domestic and family violence also includes stalking (as defined in IC 35-45-10-1) or a sex offense under IC 35-42-4, whether or not the stalking or sex offense is committed by a family or household member.

         Ind. Code § 34-6-2-34.5. "Stalk" means "a knowing or an intentional course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another person that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, or threatened and that actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, or threatened." Ind. Code § 35-45-10-1. "Harassment" means "conduct directed toward a victim that includes but is not limited to repeated or continuing impermissible contact that would cause a reasonable person to ...


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