Police: Penn Township woman failed to report suspected child sexual abuse
A Penn Township woman is accused of failing to report suspected child abuse involving a family member in May while she was considered a mandated reporter, according to court papers.
Barbara Lynn Desmond, 55, was charged Tuesday by Greensburg police with failure to report.
Police said Desmond was notified of allegations by the parents of a 6-year-old girl who said the child was sexually assaulted by a male family member of Desmond’s on May 1. Desmond allegedly told the girl’s parents that the accused man needed to file a ChildLine report about the alleged abuse, according to court papers.
At the time, Desmond was working as an independent living case worker with the Westmoreland County Children’s Bureau since 2007, according to police. Adults who come in contact with children in a professional setting are required to report suspected child abuse directly to the state through ChildLine under the Child Protective Services Law enacted in 2014.
County human resources officials on Wednesday said they cannot comment on Desmond’s employment status, adding that she is the subject of an ongoing investigation. According to the controller’s office, she’s listed as an active employee on the county payroll.
Desmond told county officials during a May 17 interview that she instructed the victim’s mother how to report the situation through ChildLine, and added that if the mother didn’t report the alleged abuse, then the man accused of involvement needed to, according to court papers. Children’s Bureau officials told police they had no record of Desmond making a report.
“Desmond said that she did not contact ChildLine because she believed that urging the victim’s mother to call fulfilled her obligation as a mandated reporter,” Detective Sgt. John Swank wrote in the complaint.
The girl’s mother made a report to ChildLine about the suspected abuse, according to court papers. Police are investigating the report.
A phone number for Desmond could not be located. She did not have an attorney listed in online court papers. The charge was sent by summons. An Aug. 15 preliminary hearing is set.
Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, [email protected] or via Twitter .