"At the center of the Dubuque County District Court case are two adorable 5- and 7-year-old sisters and their parents, a Dubuque couple who never married and separated after a nine-year relationship.

But many documents in the voluminous court files, including extensive reports from the child protective division of the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS), force troubling questions to be asked: Is the state meeting its obligation to protect children from alleged sexual abuse by a parent? Did a judge have undue influence on DHS over the department’s conclusions in the case? And did the judge mistakenly rule after hearing evidence only from the father’s side?

Court records show that in 2009, the girls’ mother, Emalee Goedert, 31, moved out with the girls because her daughters claimed their father improperly touched them.

The records indicate a continuation of the allegations over three years to relatives, therapists, child protection workers and a school official. The girls have acted out sexually, according to family members, and have shown genital redness and soreness, which doctors have attributed to various causes.

No criminal charges have been filed against their father, Michael Konzen, 32, and he has joint physical custody of them today with no conditions attached."