Child Abuse

Calls made to report suspected child abuse in Pennsylvania continued to be significantly lower than usual in May.
Min Xian / WPSU

Calls made to report suspected child abuse to Pennsylvania’s ChildLine continued to be significantly lower than usual in May, the state Department of Human Services said Thursday. They said the drastic decrease in calls over the past two months resulted from closed schools amid the COVID-19 shutdown. 

Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller said ChildLine, the state’s hotline for reports of suspected child abuse, received more than 14,000 calls in May, which was 40% lower than last year. In April, the decline was 50%. 

Woman standing with End Child Marriage sign
Unchained at Last

Right now in Pennsylvania, there’s no minimum age for marriage. A 16 or 17-year-old can get married with a parent’s permission. A child younger than that can be married with consent from a parent and judge.

But legislation passed by both the state Senate and House would change that.

“It’s that rare legislation that harms no one, costs nothing and saves children from a human rights abuse. There is no drawback," said Fraidy Reiss, founder and executive director of Unchained at Last, an organization working to end child marriage.

AP file photo/Cambria County Prison / Associated Press

EBENSBURG, Pa. (AP) — A civil suit says a Pennsylvania pediatric practice knew that one of its physicians was a threat to molest young patients but covered it up.
The suit says Laurel Pediatric Associates in Johnstown knew at least two decades ago that Dr. Johnnie Barto's patients were in "serious danger," but allowed him to treat — and molest — children, explaining away parents' complaints about his sexual misconduct.
Barto was sentenced in March to at least 79 years in prison for sexually assaulting 31 children, most of them patients.

Judge Throws Out Spanier Conviction, Pa. Attorney General Will Appeal

Apr 30, 2019
Matt Rourke / Associated Press

Updated Wednesday, 12:11pm

Pa. Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced today he intends to appeal the judge's decision to overturn Spanier's conviction.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A federal judge has thrown out former Penn State President Graham Spanier's child-endangerment conviction, less than a day before he was due to turn himself in to jail.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Karoline Mehalchick in Scranton, Pennsylvania, issued a decision late Tuesday that gave state prosecutors three months to retry Spanier.

Three former leaders of a Franciscan religious order were charged Tuesday with allowing a friar who was a known sexual predator to take on jobs, including a position as a high school athletic trainer, that enabled him to molest more than 100 children.

Giles Schinelli, 73; Robert D'Aversa, 69; and Anthony M. Criscitelli, 61, were successively the provincial ministers of a religious order of the Roman Catholic Church in western Pennsylvania from 1986 to 2010. In that role, each had the power to assign and supervise the order's members.