Children are considered to be among the most vulnerable types of victims, and Pennsylvania law punishes people convicted of these crimes accordingly. However, people can sometimes find themselves being charged with abusing youngsters as a result of false or exaggerated claims and possibly misunderstood attempts at discipline.
These allegations may come from a spouse in the middle of a divorce or custody dispute or another citizen who contacted authorities after witnessing what he or she perceived to be abuse. Any person who has been charged with this type of offense will often feel as though he or she is immediately presumed guilty and will have to struggle to prove his or her innocence in court.
Philadelphia Child Abuse Lawyer
If you have been arrested or are under investigation for allegedly abusing a child, it is imperative that you speak to an extremely knowledgeable criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Joseph Lento understands the tremendous stigma that people accused of these types of crimes bear, and he fights to restore the good names of every person he serves while pursuing the most favorable outcomes to such cases.
Lento Law Firm represents clients in Philadelphia County as well as several surrounding areas of Pennsylvania. Call (215) 535-5353 right now to let our firm review your case and begin developing the strongest possible legal defense.
Philadelphia County Child Abuse Information Center
- What are the different charges a person could face for alleged child abuse and who is obligated to report it?
- How long could a convicted offender be imprisoned and what amount of fines could he or she be ordered to pay?
- Does an alleged offender have any defenses against these allegations?
There are several laws in the Keystone State relating to the abuse of children. Depending on the specific nature of the allegations, a person could be charged with:
- Endangering Welfare of Children, Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 18 § 4304 — A parent, a guardian, a person supervising the welfare of a child under 18 years of age by providing care, education, training, or control of that child, or a person that employs or supervises such a person commits this offense if he or she knowingly endangers the welfare of the child by violating a duty of care, protection, or support. A person also commits this offense if he or she is in an official capacity and prevents or interferes with the making of a report of suspected child abuse. This crime is classified as a first-degree misdemeanor, but the charge may be elevated to a third-degree felony if there is a course of conduct of endangering the welfare of a child.
- Simple Assault, Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 18 § 2701 — A person 18 years of age or older can be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor if he or she attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to a child under 12 years of age, negligently causes bodily injury to a child under 12 years of age with a deadly weapon, or attempts by physical menace to put a child under 12 years of age in fear of imminent serious bodily injury.
- Aggravated Assault, Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 18 § 2702 — It is a second-degree felony if a person 18 years of age or older attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes serious bodily injury to a child less than 13 years of age. If the alleged victim is a child less than six years of age, this is a first-degree felony.
Certain professions and individuals are required to any suspected abuse of children under Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 23 § § 6311. These parties include:
- People licensed or certified to practice in any health-related field under the jurisdiction of the Department of State
- Medical examiners, coroners, or funeral directors
- Employees of health care facilities or providers licensed by the Department of Health, who are engaged in the admission, examination, care or treatment of individuals
- School employees
- Employees of child-care services who have direct contact with children in the course of employment
- Clergymen, priests, rabbis, ministers, Christian Science practitioners, religious healers, or spiritual leaders of any regularly established churches or other religious organizations
- Individuals paid or unpaid, who, on the basis of their roles as integral parts of regularly scheduled programs, activities, or services, accept responsibility for children
- Employees of social services agencies who have direct contact with children in the course of employment
- Peace officers or law enforcement officials
- Emergency medical services providers certified by the Department of Health
- Employees of public libraries who have direct contact with children in the course of employment
- Individuals supervised or managed by any person listed above and have direct contact with children in the course of employment
- Independent contractors
- Attorneys affiliated with agencies, institutions, organizations, or other entities, including schools or regularly established religious organizations that are responsible for the care, supervision, guidance or control of children
- Foster parents
An alleged offender faces very severe punishments if he or she is convicted of abusing a child. Depending on the classification of the crime the person allegedly committed, some of the consequences may include:
- First-Degree Misdemeanor — Maximum sentence of five years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines
- Third-Degree Felony — Maximum sentence of seven years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines
- Second-Degree Felony — Maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines
- First-Degree Felony — Maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines
Every case of alleged abuse of a child is different. Thus, there can always be specific defenses that are unique to an alleged offender's individual situation. Generally, some of the most common defenses in these types of cases include, but are not limited to:
- False accusations
- Child's injuries were not result of abuse
- Parental right to discipline
- Improper interviewing of alleged victim
- Lack of evidence
Find the Best Child Abuse Lawyer in Philadelphia
Are you under investigation for or have you been arrested for abusing a child in Pennsylvania? Joseph Lento can aggressively defend your rights in court and work tirelessly to get the charges against you reduced or completely dismissed.
Lento Law Firm helps people from all over Philadelphia County and many nearby communities in Pennsylvania. Let our firm review your case by calling (215) 535-5353 today to take advantage of a free legal consultation.