According to the Daily Local News, as more child abuse victims of James Battista—who “is being held without bail at Chester County Prison in connection with the alleged rape of a 3-year-old child at his in-home day care”—come forward, a new and positive spotlight is being put on the unit that will be in charge of investigating and prosecuting Battista and alleged child sex abuse perpetrators: the Chester County Child Abuse Unit.
Under the leadership of PA GOP-endorsed Superior Court candidate Deputy District Attorney Megan McCarthy King, the unit has become a statewide leader in handling child sex abuse cases following a spike in reports following changes in law after the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State.
According to the Daily Local:
In 2014 in Chester County, there were 414 reports of child abuse. In 2015, the numbers began to increase annually, first to 1,306, then 1,681, then 1,924, and by the end of 2018, to 1,983. The number of forensic interviews increased as well, from 233 in 2014 to a high of 363 in 2017. In 2018, that number had dipped slightly to 346.
“In Chester County, we are lucky that the District Attorney’s office had the resources and foresight to deal with these increases,” said Megan King, the deputy district attorney in charge of the Child Abuse Unit. “Working as a team, we have vastly improved our ability to investigate and prosecute child abuse cases. Chester County now stands as a leader in the field of child abuse prosecutions.”
According to King, every child abuse case in Chester County is reported to the Chester County Detectives, the investigative arm of the District Attorney’s office. The detectives and prosecutors assigned to the Child Abuse Unit then assess the cases to decide which cases should be handled directly by the Chester County Detectives and which can be addressed by municipal police departments or the Pennsylvania State Police.
NOTE: Judge Christylee Peck and Deputy District Attorney Megan McCarthy King are the PA GOP-endorsed candidates for Superior Court. Both candidates are “recommended” by the Pennsylvania Bar Association and just this week filed a combined 19,000+ number of petition signatures to get on the primary election ballot.