235 A.D.2d 858 (1997)

653 N.Y.S.2d 163

In the Matter of Ashley M., a Child Alleged to be a Abused and Neglected. Chemung County Department of Social Services, Respondent; John M., Appellant

Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Third Department.

January 23, 1997

White, J.

After a fact-finding hearing in this child protective proceeding, Family Court found that respondent had sexually abused and neglected his three-year-old daughter. Initially, respondent challenges the finding of abuse, claiming that it is not supported by sufficient evidence.

Family Court's finding is beyond challenge if petitioner established the abuse by a preponderance of the evidence and respondent failed to offer a satisfactory explanation rebutting the evidence (see, Matter of Philip M., 82 N.Y.2d 238, 243; Matter of Jacinta J., 140 A.D.2d 990, 991-992). Here, petitioner established that respondent perpetrated several acts of sodomy upon his daughter through her out-of-court statements. While this proof standing alone is insufficient to support a finding of abuse, it is sufficient if corroborated (see, Matter of Nicole V., 71 N.Y.2d 112, 117-118; see also, Family Ct Act § 1046 [a] [vi]). To this end Family Court has considerable discretion in determining whether a child's out-of-court statements have been sufficiently corroborated (see, Matter of Christopher N., 221 A.D.2d 871, 872-873). Among the types of evidence that can provide sufficient corroboration is that given by experts (see, Matter of Tracy V. v Donald W., 220 A.D.2d 888, 889; Matter of Linda K., 132 A.D.2d 149, 158, lv denied 70 N.Y.2d 616).

Here, petitioner presented validation testimony from an expert who testified that she observed the victim reenact the sexual abuse incidents utilizing anatomically correct dolls and stuffed animals. In addition, there was nonhearsay testimony that the victim engaged in sexually inappropriate behavior. In our view, this testimony provided ample corroboration for the victim's out-of-court statements (see, Matter of Jaclyn P., 86 N.Y.2d 875, 878, cert denied sub nom. Papa v Nassau County Dept. of Social Servs. 516 U.S. 1093; Matter of J.S., 215 A.D.2d 213, 214, lv denied 86 N.Y.2d 706; Matter of Racielli C., 215 A.D.2d 477, 478). We further note that respondent's failure to testify allowed Family Court to draw the strongest inferences against him as the opposing evidence permitted (see, Matter of Nassau County Dept. of Social Servs. v Denise J., 87 N.Y.2d 73, 79; Matter of Tami G., 209 A.D.2d 869, 870, lv denied 85 N.Y.2d 804). Accordingly, for these reasons, we conclude that Family Court's finding that respondent abused his daughter was supported by sufficient evidence.

Respondent's second argument for reversal is that he was denied effective assistance of counsel. The right to counsel in a child protective proceeding affords protections equivalent to the constitutional standard of effective assistance of counsel provided defendants in criminal proceedings (see, Matter of Daryl S., 180 A.D.2d 639, 640, appeal dismissed 79 N.Y.2d 1040). The record evidence shows that respondent's counsel, through an effective cross-examination of petitioner's witnesses, challenged petitioner's proof that respondent was the perpetrator of the acts of sexual abuse committed upon his daughter and raised doubts about the validity of the charges against respondent by showing that they may have emanated from his wife's antipathy towards him. He also established that there was no medical or physical evidence of abuse. Viewed in its totality, this record reveals that respondent was provided with meaningful and constitutionally competent legal representation (see, People v Ford, 86 N.Y.2d 397, 404; Matter of Dingman v Purdy, 221 A.D.2d 817, 818).

Ordered that the order is affirmed, without costs.


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