SARASWATI v. COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO
RANGANATH SARASWATI, Plaintiff and Appellant,
COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO, Defendant and Respondent.
Court of Appeals of California, Fourth District, Division One.
Filed December 21, 2011.
Certified for publication January 11, 2012.
Ranganath Saraswati appeals from the trial court's judgment denying his petition for writ of administrative mandamus against the County of San Diego (the County) challenging the County's determination in an administrative hearing that the child abuse allegations made against Saraswati in 2006 were inconclusive rather than unfounded. As we will explain, we conclude that the trial court applied the wrong standard in reviewing the County's determination, and accordingly we remand this matter to the trial court to apply the correct standard.IFACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
In April 2006, Saraswati was involved in a contentious custody dispute over his then five-year-old daughter (the Child) after the dissolution of his marriage to the Child's mother (Mother).
On April 18, 2006, several days before a scheduled April 24, 2006 hearing to consider sanctions against Mother for violations of a custody order, Mother took the Child to the emergency room, stating that the day before, while being bathed, the Child told her that Saraswati had inserted his fingers and his toothbrush into her vagina and anus. According to the report of the County's investigating social worker, while the Child was playing with a teddy bear in the emergency room lobby, she said to the teddy bear, "'I'll give you a bath but not like daddy does'" and then shoved her fingers toward the bear's private parts. The Child was evaluated the next day in a sexual abuse screening. The Child told the interviewer that Saraswati inserts his electric toothbrush in her vagina and anus and then brushes his teeth with the toothbrush. In a meeting with the investigating social worker on May 4, 2006, the Child repeated the claim about the toothbrush and also added that Saraswati put dental floss into her vagina and then used it on his teeth.
In addition to the sexual abuse allegations, the Child stated that Saraswati touches, hits or pinches her when she is "in trouble" and has left bruises. Mother stated that the Child told her that Saraswati had plucked the Child's eyelashes when she did not tell him information about Mother and that Saraswati had twisted the Child's arm.