Carolyn’s Online Magazine



Societal Losses Caused by Perpetrators of Child Abuse

April was first declared Child Abuse Prevention Month by presidential proclamation in 1983. Since then, April has been a time to acknowledge the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse.

You might first need to realize the preponderance of child abuse and its overall effect.

While directing the Family Support Program of the Greater Jamestown Area (FSP), a Children’s Trust Funded program, a teacher and church organist was accused of molesting his piano students.

He was organist at the church my husband, Monte, was assigned to pastor.

The accusation split the town. Who could believe this person, who was such an integral part of the community and who contributed  so much, whom everyone loved, could do such a thing?

Thus, the children he molested were not his only victims. His victims crisscrossed the culture of this small rural town.

Media reports of child abuse are rampant. The perpetrator not only harms the child, but society often loses talented people who have much to contribute to society, as happened in the Chuck Herrick situation.

I made an imperfect list of media-published cases, mostly in 2014, and mostly in Southwestern Pennsylvania. These are only 41  cases—a sampling—there were many more cases I wasn’t efficient enough to document.

The cases may be reports of incidents or of legal action from previous incidents. While reading down the list think of the losses caused by the perpetrator on all levels. Can you then say that child abuse only affects the victim and his family?

Think of the losses not only to the direct victim, but to the victim’s family, the perpetrator’s family, and his/her organizations, community, region, state, world.


  1. Jason Cooper, 38, & Joseph Ruggieri III, 40, Plum Senior High School — chemistry (Cooper) and English (Ruggieri) teachers — improper relationships with female students
  2.  Drew Zoldak, 40, Plum Senior High School — forensics in science department — naming a victim in a class
  3. Jerry Sandusky—Penn State assistant football coach, sexually abusing young boys
  4. Warren Earl Yeager, Sr. —security guard
  5. Stacey Dean Rambold — teacher, rape of 14-year-old student
  6. Ray Scott Teets, 66, of South Union – pastor – indecent contact with an 11-year-old girl, with indecent assault stemming from incidents in 1999, 2005 and 2013
  7. Jason Eugene Freeland, 31, Fayette Cnty., bus driver — assaulting a mentally disabled student was held for trial Wednesday on charges of rape, sexual assault and corruption of minors(13 or 14)
  8. Rev. Mark Hooper, 40, and 40-year-old Susan Hooper, Kane PA — underfeeding their three adopted children
  9. John R. Lohr, 56, Greene Cnty, Children and Youth Services advisory board member — appeared to be intoxicated when he approached the boy late one night in October 2009, pulled the boy’s pants down and forced oral sex on him
  10. Youth Pastor Andrew Mark Patterson, 45, North Hundingdon — been arrested in connection with a three-month child pornography investigation

I’ll end with Chuck Herrick—teacher, church organist — molesting children. The children were victimized. Their families were thrown into a world they  couldn’t, wouldn’t, have chosen.  If the above list hasn’t given you food for thought, read on for a long list of non-professionals who were perpetrators—sometimes fatally abusing a child.


  1. Joshua N. Tannous, 20, Fayette Cnty – with two counts each of aggravated assault, endangering the welfare of children, simple assault and reckless endangerment for allegedly injuring the Prices’ two children, then ages 2 and 6 months, while staying with the family in February 2014
  2. Patrick Ray Haney, 27, Fayette Cnty — beating a 4-year-old boy to death, beat Trenton over “an extended period of time” at a house he shared with Trenton’s mother
  3. Tyler dale Roberts, 22, of Uniontown, nurtured 12-year-old and had sex with her in his vehicle. (link not recorded)
  4. Brandon H. Russman, 21, of Uniontown – left 7-month-old alone to go drinking at a nearby bar
  5. Rachelle R. Sankey, 44, Greene Twnshp – with intimidating a witness and hindering prosecution for allegedly telling the alleged victim to keep secret a sexual relationship the girl had with 44-year-old Bruce Sankey
  6. Laurel Michelle Schlemmer, 40, McCandless – she heard “crazy voices” and then pushed her two young sons down into a bathtub of water and sat on them thinking she could send them to heaven
  7. Molly Shattuck, 47, ex-Ford City – of having sex with a 15-year-old boy in Delaware
  8. David Lewis Stewart, 49, Dawson – sexually assaulting two girls, teen and 5-year-old
  9. Tonya Thomas, 26, and her husband, Wesley A. Thomas, 25, Indiana Cnty – left their three children unsupervised in a bathtub, one found facedown in the tub and was pronounced dead
  10. Barry Wayne Woods, 35, of Grapeville – of inflicting abuse on child, 6, that caused injuries requiring surgery
  11. Tammy Jo Bohon and Robert D. Dodson — death of 15-month-old special needs daughter
  12. Domer Burkholder — fatally beat his 2—month-old daughter
  13. Juan Raul Campbell, Indiana Cnty. — smothered 22-month-old stepson
  14. Rana L. Cooper, Washington Cnty., — abuse of adopted daughter
  15. Thomas J. Deglau, Derry — videotaping inappropriate act with 4-year-old girl
  16. Elizabeth Fair, Christopher Peterman, Loyalhanna Twnshp., beating their 3-year-old daughter
  17. Pellegrino Fiore, Ex-Greensburg — aggravated indecent assault of a child, indecent assault of a person younger than 13, corruption of minors, criminal use of a communication facility and terroristic threatsagainst under-16-year-old
  18. Heather Forsythe, 30, Fayette Cnty. — did nothing to stop her boyfriend from allegedly beating her 4-year-old son to death
  19. Raymond F. Gravely, 53, Arona — sexual assaults of a 12-year-old
  20. Alysa Danielle Kelly, 25, of West Newton — endangering the welfare of children, leaving a child unattended in a motor vehicle and driving with a suspended license
  21. Brian T. Lynch, 45, of Confluence, Somerset Cnty — kidnapping and raping a 6-year-old boy and for attempting to sexually assault a 10-year-old boy
  22. Raymond Allen Matteson, 35, of Smithfield Fayette Cnty — critically injuring a 19-month-old boy was caring for the child during an earlier incident when the toddler’s leg was broken
  23. Jeffrey Allan May, 47, Mt. Pleasant — with indecent assault and endangering the welfare of children re a 5-year-olf girl
  24. Aaron Michael McFadden, 20, Arnold — assaulting and raping a girl, 17
  25. Matthew Milisits, 31, Vandergrift — shook baby to death, His 2-month-old baby girl’s persistent crying was too much to handle
  26. Amanda Jayne Svenungsen, 23, and Cody Michael Schartiger, 25, Somerset Cnty — put the toddler in her crib about 10 p.m….They checked on her at 11 p.m. when they went to bed, and she was sleeping…A few hours later, Schartiger awoke to smoke a cigarette and said he discovered Baylee not breathing, according to the complaint…The pathologist determined the child died from smothering and neck injuries. An autopsy determined that in addition to the neck injury and visible bruises, the toddler suffered two breaks of her right arm and head trauma
  27. Jessica Leann Nichols, Hempfield Twnshp — serious injuries consistent with shaken baby syndrome to a 10-month-old she was babysitting
  28. Travis Cavell Prince, 25, Clairton — allegedly grabbed the boy, threw a video-game controller at him and struck him after the child accidentally shot water on him with a squirt gun
  29. Kenneth Reeves, 29, Mt. Washington — homicide in the death of Kamero Newton, a 5 12-month-old girl from Knoxville who died Wednesday after spending four days brain-dead and on life support in Children’s Hospital in Lawrenceville
  30. Jessica Elizabeth Rhodes, 19, Fayette Cnty — causing near-fatal injuries to her 14-month-old son by shaking the child
  31. Kenneth Richie, 58, Greensburg — nine counts, including rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, corruption of minors and terroristic threats, sexual assaults against children teens

If you read down this list I hope it’s given you food for thought. Please share your comments in the comment box at the end of this post.

About carolyncholland

In several if my nine lives I have been a medical lab technician and a human service worker specializing in child day care, adoptions and family abuse. Currently I am a photo/journalist/writer working on a novel and a short story. My general writings can be viewed at My novel site is
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