What are the state laws/ penalties in PA for falsely reporting child abuse to influence a custody situation?
Family Law Attorney
This question is actually more complicated than it may appear.
CYS (or whatever equivalent is in York County) will more than likely conduct an investigation and determine whether the abuse is founded, indicated, or unfounded. If they determine that the report is unfounded, it is unlikely that a judge will consider the report when making his/her decision.
As a general rule, reporting suspected child abuse, if made in good faith, is immune from prosecution. (This is because, in general, Pennsylvania wants to encourage people to report incidents that they suspect, but aren't 100% sure, without being afraid of being sued).
However, it is a crime to knowingly make a false report to authorities. Unfortunately, this is VERY difficult to prove, because the other person can always say "I really suspected that the child might be abused." If the person continues to make false allegations, and CYS determines the allegations are unfounded each time, it is now easier to prove that the report was not made in good faith. If this happens, you should notify your District Attorney, as making false reports to authorities is a criminal offense.
The responses provided on this site are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as providing legal advice regarding an individual situation. No attorney-client relationship is created between the reader and Jeffrey S. Helffrich, Esquire, or between the reader and Masorti and Donaldson, P.C.
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