KARA tracks current news about at risk children bringing transparency and attention to our youngest and most vulnerable citizens. Please note that what you see here is only a sampling of what should be reported – the great majority of child trauma & abuse never gets reported.
ALL ADULTS ARE THE PROTECTORS OF ALL CHILDREN
Compilation of information and writing on this page is the hard work of Krista Neuner
Pennsylvania School Cafeteria Worker Quits Over ‘Lunch Shaming’ of Child
NBC 10 Philadelphia – September 20, 2016
Stacy Koltiska resigned last week from Wylandville Elementary School in the Canon-McMillan School District after she had to take a hot lunch away from an elementary school student because the child’s parent had fallen more than $25 behind in paying for his school lunches.
“His eyes welled up with tears. I’ll never forget his name, the look on his face,” she said.
Allentown Diocese part of Pa. grand jury probe into child sex abuse
Lehigh Valley Live – September 16, 2016
The Diocese of Allentown has been named in a statewide grand jury investigation into child sex abuse claims. The Allentown and Harrisburg dioceses are part of the investigation, said state Rep. Mark Rozzi, a Democrat from the Reading area. Rozzi, of Muhlenberg Township in Berks Counthy, confirmed he testified last month before the grand jury convened in Pittsburgh. Rozzi has previously revealed he was abused by an Allentown Diocese priest in 1984 when he was 13.
Dogs helping kids called to testify in Pennsylvania county
York Dispatch – September 15, 2016
The dogs will be available to soothe children, especially younger children, who may be frightened or nervous about appearing in court for custody proceedings and other matters.
Pennsylvania officials reveal improved service to child abuse hotline
Philly Voice – September 15, 2016
In 2015, the department reported a 14-percent increase in phone calls from 164,911 to 188,357, a 39-percent increase in cases of suspected child abuse and a 162-percent increase in requests for child-abuse history clearances. DHS admitted that 43 percent of calls were abandoned or deflected and 48 percent of clearances were processed within 14 days as required by law.
Pennsylvania couple waives arraignment in child-giving case
ABC 27 News – September 2, 2016
A Pennsylvania couple and a Philadelphia-area man to whom they allegedly gave their 14-year-old daughter in exchange for money have waived their arraignments.
Pennsylvania Prosecutors Swamped With Child Abuse Reports
CBS Pittsburgh – September 9, 2016
Prosecutors say they support a 2014 legislative overhaul of the state’s child abuse law, which, among other things, expanded the definition of child abuse and made more adults legally responsible for reporting suspected cases of it. But they’re having trouble keeping up with the resulting surge in abuse claims.
Before state Supreme Court weighs in, a rally for education funding
Philly.com – September 14, 2016
Parents, including two from Philadelphia, and districts including the William Penn system in Delaware County sued the state in 2014. Also joining the lawsuit were the Pennsylvania NAACP and other organizations. They said that Pennsylvania had “adopted an irrational school funding system that does not deliver the essential resources students need and discriminates against children based on where they live and the wealth of their communities.”
Pennsylvania Mom Locked Son With Autism, Baby in Car While She Worked Out
KTLA 5 – September 1, 2016
Police said O’Neill had been running on the treadmill for about 20 minutes when they found her 11-year-old son with Asperger’s syndrome in the car, along with his 5-month-old baby sister. When asked where the parents were, the boy told officers his mother was in the gym, police said.
Pa. couple pleads not guilty to locking children in dog cages
The Morning Call – September 26, 2016
Police say the couple turned themselves in Sunday on charges of cruelty to persons and risk of injury to a minor. The arrest warrants allege the couple failed to give the children enough food, hit them with paddles and locked them in cages as punishment between 2013 and 2016 while living in Newington.
Children with incarcerated parents often suffer in silence
Lancaster Online – September 25, 2016
“My grandmother told me that I would sit and cry, just stare out of the window and cry for hours whenever she would leave,” said Bowyer, 27. “It was really hard because every time I saw her leave, I never knew when she was coming back.” When Bowyer was 14, her aunt introduced her to Amachi Pittsburgh, a nonprofit that provides mentors to children with incarcerated parents.
Migrant Women, Children Detained for Months in PA
Newser – September 3, 2016
“We wake up and we see the same walls, the same ceiling, and we think to ourselves, ‘When will this end?'” one 16-year-old girl at Berks County Residential Center tells the Times. State Sen. Bob Casey says the families fled “unspeakable horrors” in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. One 6-year-old has been diagnosed with PTSD from violence in his home country. Casey says America “can do better than the treatment they are receiving.”
New AG says proposed Pa. child-sex abuse law wasn’t unconstitutional
Philly.com – September 23, 2016
Freshly appointed to the helm of an office racked by tumult, Pennsylvania Attorney General Bruce Beemer is rejecting a key position taken by his predecessor, saying he believes a child sex-abuse bill in Harrisburg that would have allowed lawsuits for decades-old cases would not have violated the state constitution.
For 2nd Time, Pennsylvania Mom Has Baby Sleeping in Bed Die
NBC 10 – September 9, 2016
An investigation revealed that Harper ignored the advice of multiple medical professionals who warned the 28-year-old mother not to have the baby sleep in bed with her. Just six days before the boy died, a pediatrician warned Harper of the consequences of sharing a bed with her infant son but Harper responded that she was “going to do it anyway,” according to the affidavit.
Ex-children’s program photographer sentenced for child porn
Lancaster Online – September 21, 2016
A former photographer for a Philadelphia radio station’s popular children’s program has been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison after he admitted to child pornography charges.
Open containers found in crash that killed 5-year-old Newark boy
Eyewitness News ABC 7 – September 14, 2016
Police say all three passengers from the Nissan — 5-year-old Rayvon Robinson, 2-year-old Briel Robinson and their 31-year-old mother, Stephany Stephens — were thrown from the vehicle. The boy was pronounced dead at the scene.
Ex-director charged in kids mental-health facility theft
Lancaster Online – September 29, 2016
Federal prosecutors say a Delaware woman has been charged with embezzling more than $600,000 in public money from a mental-health treatment facility in Philadelphia that helps children with trauma and behavioral disorders.
911 dispatcher endangered kids by overdosing at home
Lancaster Online – September 28, 2016
A western Pennsylvania 911 dispatcher who allegedly overdosed on heroin at home has been suspended from her job and charged with endangering her children.
A look at New York, Pennsylvania’s obesity rankings
WBNG News – September 1, 2016
The report also says 11 percent of children in Pennsylvania live in “food-insecure” households, meaning they have limited access to adequate food and nutrition.
PA Priest Charged After Child Pornography Allegedly Found On Laptop
CBS Philly – September 13, 2016
Authorities say a former pastor at a Roman Catholic Church in Emmaus, Pennsylvania has been charged with numerous crimes related to the possession of child pornography.
Pa. officials say they will help fight hunger
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – September 22, 2016
Among the plan’s goals are for the state to increase participation in the food stamp program, formally know as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, from 90 percent of eligible individuals to 98 percent or higher by the year 2020; to increase the number of children benefiting from free and reduced price school meals during the school year and associated programs during the summer; to make programs to double the value to food stamps available at more farmers’ markets; and to increase participation in the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program from 245,000 to 260,000 people within four years.
Pennsylvania mom admits to abandoning kids for ISIS
NewsOK – September 22, 2016
Thomas said in court her plans were only derailed last year when federal agents raided her home the day she was scheduled to leave the country.
77-year-old Penn Hills man found guilty of sex crimes against children
WPXI News 11 – September 17, 2016
Joseph Campinelli was found guilty on multiple counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault, aggravated indecent assault, endangering the welfare of children, promoting prostitution and corruption of minors.
Mom headed to prison in son’s ‘concentration camp’ beating
Lancaster Online – September 27, 2016
A central Pennsylvania mother has been sentenced to the maximum of 3½ to 7 years in prison for failing to protect her 5-year-old son from physical abuse that the judge says resembled a beating that “took place in a concentration camp.”
Adoption: More than 2,000 kids need a home in PA
The Daily Item – September 9, 2016
“I think it’s true that many kids in foster care are overlooked because they are ‘hidden’ in foster homes,” said Erin Eberspacher, project manager of Adoption & Orphan Care for Focus on the Family. “The U.S. does not have orphanages like many other countries, so people can forget that there are kids waiting for permanent families, kids that belong nowhere and to no one.”
Five children in foster care after neglect arrest
The Titusville Herald – September 24, 2016
A Titusville woman’s five children are in foster homes after some of them were found with untreated medical problems, including pneumonia and a festering wound that cost one child part of his thumb. Charged with a felony for the condition of her children is 36-year-old Coleen Fay Matthews, whose residence is listed on court documents as 513 N. Second St., Titusville. Three of Matthews’ children are victims in the case, according to Det. Dustin LeGoullon. Those children are ages 2, 5 and 10, according to a document on file with Magisterial District Judge Amy Nicols’ office in Titusville.
PA lawmaker introduces bill requiring children to have mental health screen before attending school
WPXI 11 News –September 30, 2016
A state lawmaker wants children to undergo a mental health screening to be a requirement before attending school. Children already have to receive a physical before attending school and a mental health screening is something Families Touched by Suicide said could help save lives.
Gov. Wolf to address opioid epidemic; backing legislation with child prescription limits
Philly.com – September 28, 2016
Kids shouldn’t be prescribed bottles full of addictive opioids, Gov. Wolf said Tuesday, adding to his legislative to-do list ahead of a major speech Wednesday on the overdose epidemic.
Pa. couple who fatally OD’d with 3 kids in house are identified
Penn Live – October 5, 2016
It was a 7-year-old girl who told staff at her elementary school her parents wouldn’t wake up, leading authorities to the house to find the two adults dead and three other children who lived there — ages 9 months, 3 and 5 – on Monday, TribLive.com writes.
Vegan Mom Charged with Child Endangerment After Allegedly Feeding Baby Only Nuts and Berries
People – October 7, 2016
On Aug. 16, the baby’s father, Jerry Hawk, 44, brought the child to the Fayette County Children and Youth Services, saying that his wife had “become obsessed” with a vegan diet and would not allow the child to eat anything other than small amounts of fruits and nuts, according to court records.
Pennsylvania man who had kids with 14-year-old abused her 5 sisters
Chicago Tribune – October 31, 2016
A Pennsylvania man accused of fathering two children with a 14-year-old girl gifted to him by her parents was charged Monday with sexually assaulting five other girls in that family, calling them his wives.
Pa. bill aiming to lessen ’emotional trauma’ for children of divorce signed into law
The Philly Voice – October 16, 2016
Sponsored by Rep. Tarah Toohil of Luzerne County, Act 102 will reduce the amount of time it takes to obtain a no-fault divorce from the current two-year waiting period to one year. That means that separating couples will be able to begin dividing assets and determining whether either owe any alimony much sooner. Toohil said she spearheaded the bill to make the process less stressful for children caught in the middle of their parents’ divorce.
Children in Pennsylvania daycare encouraged to curse on camera
New York Daily News – October 9, 2016
A Pennsylvania daycare has earned the ire of its community after a staff member recorded herself urging young students to use explicit language.
Mom texted video of dead toddler during fight with dad, police say
NBC4i.com – November 2, 2016
A woman jailed on charges she killed her toddler son sent a video of the boy’s apparently lifeless body to his father in a jealous, vengeful rage during a text-messaged argument that lasted more than two hours, police said in a criminal complaint.
Pa. woman charged with abusing boy, 4, feeding him hot sauce and laxatives
Philly.com – November, 8 2016
A Lancaster County woman has been arrested and charged with forcing her boyfriend’s 4-year-old son to eat laxatives and hot sauce, tying up his legs, locking him in a closet and verbally abusing him, authorities said.
Pennsylvania Man Who Impregnated Teen Girl ‘Gifted’ to Him Now Charged With Raping Her 5 Sisters: Prosecutors
KTLA5 – November 1, 2016
A Bucks County, Pennsylvania, man who was “gifted” a 14-year-old girl from a Lancaster County about two years ago was charged with raping and abusing her five sisters, prosecutors announced Monday, according to KTLA sister station WPMT.
Pa. AG: Child porn defendant tied to man recently arrested in Henrico County
WRIC.com – November 17, 2016
A Pennsylvania man already jailed awaiting trial on child pornography charges is accused of delivering a 9-year-old boy that another man raped in his home. The attorney general’s office says 38-year-old David Parker, of Saylorsburg, brought the boy to 35-year-old Craig Knox in June 2010. Knox has been living in Henrico, Virginia, but was living in Pittston, Luzerne County at the time.
Two Pennsylvania Children Abducted From Foster Care Found In Baltimore Co.
CBS Baltimore – November 20, 2016
Baltimore County Police say that two juveniles with autism were found in Towson, after being abducted from their foster home in Indiana Borough of Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania mother accused of forcing 5-year-old son to smoke crack cocaine
New York Daily News – November 16, 2016
A Pennsylvania mother is accused of physically abusing her 5-year-old son, forcing him to smoke crack cocaine and leaving him unsupervised for long periods of time, authorities said. Rochelle Daniels, 39, of Allentown, is charged with endangering the welfare of children, corruption of minors, recklessly endangering another person and simple assault, court records show.
Thousands of children waiting to be adopted in Pennsylvania
Fox 43 – November 1, 2016
In Pennsylvania, there are approximately 2,500 children waiting to be adopted according to Cobys Family Services in Leola. Cobys is a family service agency that offers foster and adoptive services to families. Furthermore, once a family adopts, the organization offers free support to adoptive families. November is National Adoption Month. There is a need for families willing to foster and/or adopt.
Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Awards Nearly $900,000 in Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Grants
PR Newswire – November 10, 2016
Department of Human Services Secretary Ted Dallas today announced that $899,694 in state grants were awarded to six Pennsylvania organizations to enhance child abuse and neglect prevention programs and outreach efforts in the commonwealth.
PA priest waives hearing on child porn charges
ABC 27 – November 3, 2016
A Roman Catholic priest in Pennsylvania has waived a preliminary hearing on child pornography charges. His attorney says Monsignor John Stephen Mraz, of Bethlehem, gave up his right to a preliminary hearing because he committed the crime.
DA: MONTCO PEDIATRICIAN HAD SEXUAL EXPLICIT IMAGES OF CHILDREN ON PHONE
ABC6 Action News – November 30, 2016
A Montgomery County pediatrician has been arrested on charges of possessing sexual explicit images of children. 48-year-old David Kennedy of Pennsburg has been charged with five counts of Sexual Abuse of Children and Criminal Use of a Communications Facility.
Pennsylvania man pleads guilty to producing child pornography
ICE Newsroom – November 17, 2016
A Carbon County, Pennsylvania, man pleaded guilty Thursday to producing child pornography, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Pennsylvania State Police.
UPMC Health Plan Celebrates UPMC for Kids 10th Anniversary
PR Newswire – November 21, 2016
“At this milestone anniversary, and in this season of Thanksgiving, we want to thank our members, providers and partner agencies who know that children need health insurance for a path to a lifetime of heath and that CHIP matters,” said Patrick Tracy, Senior Director, CHIP.
Children’s Aid Society Awarded Pennsylvania Children’s Trust Fund Grant
GANT News – November 11, 2016
A three-year grant from the Pennsylvania Children’s Trust Fund (CTF) will allow Children’s Aid Society to expand its Triple P – Positive Parenting Program. With this grant, the agency will provide primary and secondary child abuse and neglect prevention to families in Clearfield County by expanding the format of the current Triple P program targeting parents of children ages 0-16, according to Executive Director Bonnie Floro.
Pennsylvania man faces additional child porn charges
Log Cabin Democrat – November 25, 2016
Randy James Myers, 31, of Honeybrook, Pennsylvania, faces 10 counts of distributing, possessing or viewing matter depicting child sex and one count of conspiracy to commit rape. He was arrested Oct. 29 after arranging with undercover investigators to travel from North Dakota to Conway to have sex with children, according to an affidavit.
Montco man, 61, charged with possessing, distributing child porn
Philly.com – November 18, 2016
Robert Greene, of the 300 block of Regency Drive in North Wales, is accused of possessing 463 images and 49 videos of child pornography, and distributing some of that illicit material, the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office announced Friday in a news release.
Operation Christmas Child collecting shoeboxes for kids
Public Opinion – November 8, 2016
Several locations in the Franklin County area will serve as collection sites this year for the Samaritan’s Purse project Operation Christmas Child, the world’s largest Christmas project of its kind.
Pennsylvania Departments of Corrections and Human Services Advocate for Quality Early Education as a Key to Future Success
PR Newswire – November 2, 2016
Department of Corrections (DOC) Secretary John Wetzel and Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Ted Dallas today made the case for continued investment in early care and education as the route to future success.
Cumberland County man guilty of possession of child pornography
Fox43 – November 28, 2016
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Gary Stinson Smith, age 60, of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, plead guilty today before United States District Court Judge John E. Jones, III, to possession of child pornography.
Pennsylvania Dad Who Allegedly Didn’t Call 911 After Mom Texted Videos of Lifeless Son Faces Charges
NBC 10 – November 3, 2016
Allegheny County police say the McKeesport man didn’t alert authorities even though 21-year-old Christian Clark sent him videos of his son’s limp body Tuesday night.
PENNSYLVANIA TEACHER’S AIDE ACCUSED OF SEXUAL CONTACT WITH 2 STUDENTS
ABC7 Eyewitness News – November 17, 2016
A Pennsylvania teacher’s aide was arrested after police say she had sexual contact with two male students. Authorities say 42-year-old Sheri Maufort, of West Chester, was charged Wednesday with multiple counts of institutional sexual assault, unlawful contact with minor, endangering welfare of children, and corruption of minors.
Help keep kids safe
Public Opinion – November 15, 2016
Through strong parenting programs, family-support activities, community-awareness efforts, and educating professionals and community members how to recognize and report child abuse, we can create a safer world for our children. Each one of us has a role to play in protecting kids from abuse and neglect. I urge you during this festive and giving time of year to become more soulful about Pennsylvania’s children and the incalculable worth they bring to you and our world. They are our richest, dearest blessing.
Department of Education spotlights homeless youth
Pocono Record – November 26, 2016
Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera and Pennsylvania’s Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness Program (ECYEH) recently recognized National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week in Pennsylvania.
We need to find ways to support adoption
Lancaster Online – November 27, 2016
According to the state Department of Human Services, more than 2,500 Pennsylvania children are waiting to be adopted. Approximately 110,000 children in the U.S. foster care system are awaiting adoption, says Gloria Hochman, director of communications for the National Adoption Center in Philadelphia.
State officials tout ‘investment’ in at-risk youth
The Philadelphia Tribune – November 4, 2016
Two state department heads whose agencies deal directly with children in one way or another made the case this week for continued investment in early care and education as the route to future success for disadvantaged youth.