Misdemeanor charge filed against two Sullivan County Children & Youth Services employees
Misdemeanor charges were filed Monday against the director of Sullivan County Children & Youth Services and a caseworker for failing to report to a law enforcement agency a suspected incident of child abuse, police said.
Sullivan County Children & Youth Services director Lisa Kay Wilcox and Children & Youth Services caseworker Elaine Margaret Wich were notified on April 6, 2012, that a 13-year-old boy had allegedly had indecent contact with a five-year-old boy, state police at Laporte said.
But as of Oct. 11, 2012, neither Wilcox nor Wich had notified the state police or the Sullivan County District Attorney's office of the incident, police said.
State police said they learned about the incident on Oct. 11, 2012, when it was reported to them by a relative of the 13-year-old boy.
On Oct. 12, 2012, Sullivan County Children & Youth Services formally notified the state police about the alleged child abuse incident, which was approximately six months after the incident had occurred, state police said.
When the state police learned about the incident, an investigation was immediately conducted into the alleged child abuse and the 13-year-old boy was charged with indecent assault, police said.
Wilcox, 51, and Wich, 44, were both charged on Monday with failure to report or refer, which is a third-degree misdemeanor, state police said.
Wich told police that she did not report the incident to the police because it did not meet the criteria for police notification, according to a criminal complaint that the state police filed against Wich in Sullivan County District Court.
Wich told the state police that she, Wilcox, and Children & Youth Services Solicitor Ken Levitzky had discussed the incident "and felt that it wasn't something that needed to be reported and the family didn't want the kid arrested," according to the criminal complaint.
Wilcox told the state police: "We interpreted that the state police did not need to be notified because it did not rise to the level of Child Protective Services law," according to a criminal complaint that the state police filed against Wilcox in Sullivan County District Court.
Wilcox stated that the case was not child abuse and that the 13-year-old boy was not an alleged perpetrator under Child Protective Services Law, because he was not over 14 years of age, according to the criminal complaint that was filed against Wilcox.
But in the criminal complaints, the state police argued that the incident was still required to be reported.
Between the time that Children & Youth Services learned about the incident and the state police found out about it, the 13-year-old boy proposed to two other children younger than 13 that they engage in sex acts with him, police said.
And prior to learning on April 6, 2012, of the indecent contact incident, Wich was aware of a prior incident of sexual misconduct involving the 13-year-old boy, according to the state police.
Asked whether the county has suspended Wilcox and Wich, Sullivan County Commissioner Bob Getz indicated Monday afternoon that the county commissioners have not made any decision yet on the matter.
The commissioners have not yet received any written report from law enforcement or anyone else on the accusations against Wilcox and Wich, which the commissioners would require in order to evaluate the case, Getz explained.
An employee at Sullivan County Children & Youth Services said: "We have no comment" on the charges filed against Wilcox and Wich.
James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.