Chester County Child Abuse Attorney

In Pennsylvania, reports of substantiated child abuse increased from a rate of 1.6 per thousand children in 2016 to 1.8 in 2017. Chester County received 69 petitions for protection related to juvenile abuse or neglect in 2017. The following chart illustrates the increase in reported incidents over the last few years.

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

414

1,306

1,681

1,924

1,983

Chester County has a District Attorney's Child Abuse Unit (CAU) that is trained to analyze and prosecute potential crimes that harm children. Aside from investigations and prosecution, they also assist with the Chester County Child Advocacy Center.

Overview of Child Abuse

Child abuse may involve someone's actions or inactions that cause or fail to prevent harm to a child. The perpetrator acts with intent and the results may include physical injury, mental injury, or “sexual abuse or exploitation.” Failing to tend to a child's welfare is a form of child abuse, such as denying them access to medical treatment.

ChildLine

The ChildLine system was implemented as a means of reporting suspected cases of child abuse in Pennsylvania. Individuals who are required to report child abuse, such as those in law enforcement, medical providers, or child-care providers, must disclose their identity. Others may make the report anonymously. In most cases, the reports are promptly referred to a local agency for investigation.

Child Protective Services Law of 2014 (CPSL)

The CPSL made several modifications to the laws. The list of those who are mandated to report suspected cases of child abuse was expanded. The standard for what is considered as child abuse was lowered. Specifically, a perpetrator of child abuse is one who acts “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly.” It also reduced the result that may occur from serious physical injury to “bodily injury.”

Common Charges

  • Endangering welfare of children: Occurs when a party that is responsible for a child's supervision violates their duty to “care, protection, or support.” Those who attempt to obstruct or impede someone from making a report may also be charged. This charge may be a misdemeanor of the first degree or a felony of the second or third degree based on the circumstances.
  • Sexual abuse of children (§6312): Applies when someone permits a child to engage in unlawful sexual acts that involve taking photographs or video. This also may involve someone who knowingly sells, distributes, displays, or otherwise disseminates such material. Based on the circumstances of the offense, it may be a felony charge of the first, second, or third degree.
  • Simple Assault: This relates to actions that intentionally create bodily injury, or create a fear of “imminent bodily injury.” In this context, simple assault is caused by an adult perpetrator on a victim under the age of 12. It is a misdemeanor of the first degree.
  • Concealment of whereabouts of a child (§2909): This may occur when someone takes a child and does not inform the parent or guardian of the child's whereabouts. This is a felony of the third degree.

Levels of Relating Offenses and Penalties in Pennsylvania

Level of Offense

Period of Imprisonment

Maximum Fines

First Degree Felony

Up to 20 years

$25,000

Second Degree Felony

Up to 10 years

$25,000

Third Degree Felony

Up to 7 years

$15,000

First Degree Misdemeanor

Up to 5 years

$10,000

Second Degree Misdemeanor

Up to 2 years

$5,000

Retaining Effective Defense Counsel

If you are alleged to be a perpetrator of acts that involve child abuse, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. An offense involving a child victim may be a misdemeanor or a felony and have harsh consequences.

Attorney in Chester County Defends Allegations of Child Abuse

Attorney Joseph D. Lento understands the social stigma and serious penalties that can result from charges relating to the abuse of a child. He has years of experience effectively representing clients in these and other types of criminal allegations in Pennsylvania. For a case evaluation, contact the office at (888) 535-3686 today.

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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania and New Jersey attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations – the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Berks, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Northampton County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, Outside of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance is educational advice, and does not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

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