Pennsylvania law classifies an offense that endangers the welfare of a child as a felony. An individual acting with a “substantial risk” of causing serious bodily injury or death of a child may face a third-degree felony charge, as noted by abc27.com news. A conviction may result in penalties that include imprisonment and counseling.
If the child’s age is six years or younger, the felony level may increase. For example, when an individual carries out a pattern of actions that endanger a younger child’s welfare, a third-degree felony offense may elevate up to a second-degree felony.
Certain actions may result in serious criminal charges
The Keystone State may consider certain actions taken by parents, supervisors and caretakers of children as possible endangerment. Driving under the influence or depriving a child of food or medical care may cause an official to file a criminal charge.
An individual convicted of a third-degree felony offense may spend up to seven years incarcerated. A judge may also order the offender to pay a $15,000 fine and undergo counseling.
Caretaker receives probation sentence for child endangerment
Officials charged a 24-year-old Pennsylvania caretaker with three counts of endangering the welfare of children. Daycare security footage showed the caretaker acting violently toward an infant on several occasions. The caretaker pleaded guilty and received a sentence of probation, as reported by PennLive. The judge ordered her to serve three concurrent 18-month sentences of probation.
Two or more separate incidents of violence toward a child may constitute a pattern of endangerment, which may result in a felony conviction carrying a lengthy prison sentence. By accepting a plea deal, however, the caretaker avoided the higher penalties she may have otherwise faced.