A Philadelphia area man has been arrested and accused of sexually assaulting several children at the daycare that he and his wife ran. While this particular question is a side note to the case, an interesting query to make is whether a protection from abuse (PFA) order would have altered what happened.
Sexual Assault Charges Filed Against Daycare Worker
Apparently, the incidents all happened between 2006 and 2009. The defendant and his wife ran a now-defunct daycare in their home near West Grove, Pennsylvania.
In August 2009 and April 2010, two of the children at the daycare, aged 3 and 4, told parents that they had been sexually assaulted by the defendant. Police determined that there was not enough evidence to proceed and the daycare ended up going out of business.
As the years went by, though, two more children from the daycare came forward with similar stories. The last allegation was brought to police on June 14, 2018. Police arrested the defendant, now 70 years old, during a traffic stop.
Police suspect that there might be other victims who have not yet come forward.
The Scope of Protection from Abuse Orders
A PFA order is designed to give people who are in abusive relationships – whether they are sexually abusive relationships or physically abusive relationships – access to legal protection that is quick and easy to get. However, PFAs are not designed to give just anyone protection from an alleged abuser. Instead, PFAs focus on the types of domestic violence situations that are both abusive and difficult to get away from – those that involve family or household members, or people with whom the victim is, or was, intimate. The quick and strong legal protections that a PFA provides would be superfluous if the alleged victim of the abuse could simply walk away from the situation.
It should not be surprising, then, that Pennsylvania's PFA orders would not have been available to the alleged victims or their parents in this particular case. PFAs cannot be filed against strangers or other members of the public, no matter how abusive they may be because these strangers are not so closely connected to an alleged victim to create the kind of “inescapable” situation that they are designed to relieve.
Philadelphia PFA Attorney Joseph D. Lento
Joseph D. Lento is a criminal defense attorney who handles PFAs in the Philadelphia area all the time. While they have a purpose, they are not “one size fits all” solutions. Worse, they can easily be abused by people who want to pressure someone else and are willing to lie to law enforcement and the court system to do it. In these cases, having a strong PFA defense lawyer like Joseph D. Lento can protect your rights and interests at the PFA hearing.
If you are being accused as the subject of a PFA, you need legal help. Call attorney Lento at his Philadelphia law office at (215) 535-5353 or contact him online.