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2011-UP-134 - SCDSS v. Ruth W.

THIS OPINION HAS NO PRECEDENTIAL VALUE.  IT SHOULD NOT BE CITED OR RELIED ON AS PRECEDENT IN ANY PROCEEDING EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY RULE 268(d)(2), SCACR.

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Court of Appeals

South Carolina Department of Social Services, Respondent,

   v.

Ruth W. and Ronald L., Defendants,

Of Whom Ronald L. is the Appellant.

In the interest of three minor children under the age of 18.


Appeal From Marion County
Timothy H. Pogue, Family Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2011-UP-134
Submitted April 1, 2011 – Filed April 5, 2011   


AFFIRMED


A. Preston Brittain, of Myrtle Beach, for Appellant.

Newton I. Howle, Jr., of Darlington, for Respondent.

Stuart W. Snow, of Florence, for Guardian ad Litem.

PER CURIAM:  Ronald L. (Father) appeals from the family court's order of intervention placing him on the central registry of child abuse and neglect and requiring supervised visitation with his child.  Father argues the family court erred in failing to allow testimony from a pastor based on the priest-penitent privilege.  We affirm.[1]

This issue is unpreserved for appellate review because Father did not proffer the testimony of the pastor at the intervention hearing as to the content of the pastor's conversations between the pastor, Father, and Ruth W. (Mother), nor is it apparent from the record on appeal what the pastor would have testified to if the family court found the pastor's testimony admissible.  See State v. Santiago, 370 S.C. 153, 163, 634 S.E.2d 23, 29 (Ct. App. 2006) ("[A] proffer of testimony is required to preserve the issue of whether testimony was properly excluded by the trial judge, and an appellate court will not consider error alleged in the exclusion of testimony unless the record on appeal shows fairly what the excluded testimony would have been.") (emphasis added); TNS Mills, Inc. v. S.C. Dep't of Revenue, 331 S.C. 611, 628, 503 S.E.2d 471, 480 (1998) (holding where no proffer of excluded testimony is made, the issue is not preserved for appellate review because the court is unable to determine whether the appellant was prejudiced by the trial court's refusal to admit the testimony into evidence).  Additionally, "[a]n error not shown to be prejudicial does not constitute grounds for reversal."  Davis v. Davis, 372 S.C. 64, 87, 641 S.E.2d 446, 458 (Ct. App. 2006).  Here, this court cannot determine whether any prejudice to Father occurred because although Father included the testimony regarding the priest-penitent privilege in the record on appeal, he did not provide any of the relevant testimony regarding the abuse allegations from any witnesses at the hearing.  See Germain v. Nichol, 278 S.C. 508, 509, 299 S.E.2d 335, 335 (1983) (holding the appealing party has the burden of providing a sufficient record upon which the court can make its decision).  Accordingly, we affirm the family court's order of intervention.

AFFIRMED.

WILLIAMS and KONDUROS, JJ., and CURETON, A.J., concur. 


[1] We decide this case without oral argument pursuant to Rule 215, SCACR.