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Pennsylvania caseworkers face felony charges for ignoring years of Child Abuse

pennsylvania caseworkers face felony charges for ignoring years of child abuse

Criminal charges were announced Tuesday against five Pennsylvania caseworkers from Lackawanna County’s Office of Youth and Family Services, alleging that they failed to protect children from severe abuse.

The caseworkers were arrested on felony charges of child endangerment and failing to report abuse, which come in the wake of the recent downgrading of the agency’s license by state authorities.

“Instead of coming to the rescue, they chose to walk away,” said District Attorney Mark Powell. In some instances, they “falsified reports to make it seem like everything was OK when they knew it wasn’t,” he added.

The children living in the home, aged 9 and 10, were malnourished, covered in flea bites and slept on the floor without basic necessities, according to the documents.

The police affidavit stated that the mother admitted her failure and had repeatedly, but unsuccessfully, asked for help from the Office of Youth and Family Services.

The agency’s response to the state inspection was to blame Scranton police, accusing them of a “questionably motivated criminal investigation” into their practices.

Staff shortages were also cited by the agency as contributing to some of the problems, but DA Powell emphasized that the criminal behavior exhibited by the employees was unrelated to staffing issues.

“The children in these cases didn’t fall through the cracks because OYFS was understaffed,” he said. “These cases were on the agency’s radar for a long time.”

The defendants in the case were identified as Randy Ramik, Bryan Walker, Erik Krauser, Sadie O’Day, and Amy Helcoski. Each was released on $20,000 unsecured bail and instructed to appear in court next month.

Authored by Evan Rosen via New York Daily News June 28th 2023

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