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J.S. v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (11/06/89)

decided: November 6, 1989.

J.S., PETITIONER,
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, RESPONDENT



PETITION FOR REVIEW.

COUNSEL

Robert L. Walsh, Walsh & Menapace, Sunbury, for petitioner.

Belinda M. Davis, Asst. Counsel, Harrisburg, for respondent.

Crumlish, Jr., President Judge, and Palladino (p.), and Smith, JJ. Crumlish, Jr., President Judge, dissenting.

Author: Smith

[ 129 Pa. Commw. Page 383]

J.S. (Petitioner) appeals an order of the Director of the Office of Hearings and Appeals, Department of Public Welfare (DPW) which denied Petitioner's request to expunge an indicated report of child abuse filed by the Northumberland County Children and Youth Services (NCCYS) pursuant to the Child Protective Services Law*fn1 (Law). The order of DPW is affirmed.

On September 29, 1987, A.D., a five year old child born March 2, 1982, was brought to the emergency room of Geisinger Medical Center for examination based upon a report of suspected child abuse. She was examined, evaluated and photographed. As a result of the examining physician's diagnostic impression of suspected child abuse and an investigation by NCCYS, an indicated report of child abuse was filed against Petitioner. Thereafter, Petitioner requested that DPW expunge the indicated report pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Law, 11 P.S. § 2215(d). After a

[ 129 Pa. Commw. Page 384]

    hearing on this matter, the hearing officer recommended that the request for expungement be denied. The Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) adopted this recommendation in its order of November 8, 1988. A timely appeal was filed with this Court.*fn2

Child abuse is defined as "serious physical or mental injury which is not explained by the available medical history as being accidental . . . ." Section 3 of the Law, 11 P.S. § 2203. Serious physical injury is further defined at 55 Pa.Code § 3490.4 as:

An injury caused by the acts or omissions of a perpetrator which does one of the following:

(i) Causes the child severe pain;

(ii) Significantly impairs the child's functioning, either ...


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