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Attorney Jason S. Dunkle

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Mom Charged with Child Endangerment After Hiring Strippers for 16-Year-Old Son

I am not sure what made a New York mom think that hiring two strippers for her 16-year-old son's birthday party was a good idea. I think that most people would agree that her plan was not a good idea, but I am sure that most people would not expect that her bad decision would result in the filing of Child Endangermentpolice_office_stripper.jpg charges.

Pennsylvania Corruption of Minors Charge

While the New York mother was charged with Child Endangerment, I do not believe that the mother would be charged in Pennsylvania with Endangering the Welfare of Children, in violation of 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 4304. The Pennsylvania charge requires that a person in a supervisory capacity over the child "endangers the welfare of the child by violating a duty of care, protection or support." The mother's decision may be immoral and unethical, but it did not actually endanger his welfare.

I do believe that the mother could and probably would have been charged in Pennsylvania with Corruption of Minors, which punishes an adult for any act that corruption_of_minors.gifcorrupts or tends to corrupt the morals of any minor. Did the mother's action of hiring strippers corrupt or tend to corrupt the morals of her child? That is the million dollar question. I suspect that the police and prosecutors in Happy Valley would tend to think so and would file charges against the mother. I admit that I probably would not disagree with the charge either.

Centre County ARD Program

According to an online article, it sounds as if the woman's case is going to be resolved through participation in a pretrial diversionary program, similar to the Centre County ARD program. Such programs often require the person to stay out of trouble, complete community service, pay courts, and complete other requirements such as counseling or classes. Successful completion of ARD-type programs allows a person to have the charges dismissed and then expunged from a person's criminal record.

Participation in the ARD program is primarily determined by the district attorney.first-time-offender-ard.jpg  If this case occurred in the rural, conservative counties in which I practice, such as Centre, Clinton, Huntingdon, Mifflin, and Clearfield, I do not believe that the mother would be approved to participate in ARD. Even if this were the woman's first offense, there is no right or mandate that forces a prosecutor to allow a person to participate in a first-time offender program. I doubt that most of the district attorneys in Central Pennsylvania would approve of an ARD resolution in this case because the offender was a parent. For example, many Penn State and Lock Haven Furnishing Alcohol to Minors charges are resolved through the ARD program. However, if the Furnishing charges stemmed from a parent that furnished alcohol to high school kids, then the district attorney generally does not approve ARD. Simply stated, more is expected of parents.

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