This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2002).






In re the Marriage of:


April Mae Turner,

f/k/a April Mae Harris, petitioner,





Anthony Paul Harris,



Filed May 4, 2004


Kalitowski, Judge


St. Louis County District Court

File No. F6-91-600316


Peggy M. Harmer, Timothy J. Helgesen, Legal Aid Service of Northeastern Minnesota, 302 Ordean Building, 424 West Superior Street, Duluth, MN 55802 (for respondent)


Jill I. Frieders, O’Brien & Wolf, L.L.P., 206 South Broadway, Suite 611, P.O. Box 968, Rochester, MN 55903-0968 (for appellant)


            Considered and decided by Minge, Presiding Judge; Kalitowski, Judge; and Shumaker, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


            Appellant argues that the district court erred by denying him access to his daughters’ medical and school records.  We affirm.


            A district court has broad discretion to provide for the custody of the parties’ children and decide visitation questions.  Olson v. Olson, 534 N.W.2d 547, 550 (Minn. 1995); Durkin v. Hinich, 442 N.W.2d 148, 151 (Minn. 1989).  A district court’s findings of fact, on which a visitation decision is based, will be upheld unless clearly erroneous.  Griffin v. Van Griffin, 267 N.W.2d 733, 735 (Minn. 1978).

            Prior to this proceeding, the district court granted sole legal and physical custody to respondent and denied parenting time to appellant, who is currently incarcerated for sexually abusing his then-six-year-old daughter from another relationship.  Appellant argues that the district court erred by denying him access to the school and medical records of his daughters, 17-year-old C.H. and 16-year-old S.H.  We disagree.  Minn. Stat. § 518.17, subd. 3(b) (2002), provides that each party has a right of access to his or her child’s school, medical, dental, and other important records.  But under the statute, the court may waive the parent’s right of access to the records “if it finds it is necessary to protect the welfare of a party or child.”  Minn. Stat. § 518.17, subd. 3(b). 

Here, the district court found that C.H. and S.H. would suffer emotional distress if they knew appellant was obtaining their school and medical records.  The district court also expressly incorporated the findings it made in its earlier order.  In the earlier order, the court found that respondent, C.H., and S.H. claimed that appellant had sexually abused the girls in the past.  In addition, the district court found that the girls had informed the court in the strongest possible terms that they did not wish to have any contact with appellant, and the guardian ad litem recommended in the strongest possible way that appellant not have any contact with the girls.  The guardian ad litem’s report indicated that the girls did not even want appellant to have a photograph of them or hear their voices.  And the guardian ad litem also expressed concern that the girls were living in hiding and in fear of appellant.

We conclude that the district court’s findings support its waiver of appellant’s right of access to his daughters’ school and medical records to protect the welfare of C.H. and S.H.