Lancaster County has 3rd most sex abuse prosecutions in Pennsylvania

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LANCASTER, Pa.– Lancaster County, which is the sixth-largest county in Pennsylvania, has had the third-most sex-abuse prosecutions in the state over the past three years.

Between 2013 and 2015, the county had 257 convictions in cases involving sex offenders, with totals about 5.5 percent of all of the convictions in the state.

The top two on the list were Philadelphia County with 707 total prosecutions and Allegheny County, with 447 total.

Despite the high total in Lancaster, officials are saying that it isn’t because there are more sex offenders living there than in similarly-sized counties. Instead, officials believe that it is because law-enforcers are taking a better approach and different techniques in catching sex offenders.

“More cases are reported and pursued because our multi-disciplinary team and prosecutors are able to achieve results,” Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman said Thursday. “One of my top priorities has been to make sure that we have an elite child abuse unit, and I have given them more resources than ever before.”

Stedman and Assistant District Attorney Karen Mansfield, who heads the DA’s sex-abuse unit, say that the collaboration of police, prosecutors, victim/witness advocates, and social services, including Children and Youth and the Lancaster County Children’s Alliance has changed the way these cases are investigated and prosecuted.

Here are some changes over recent years in the way sex-abuse cases are investigated in Lancaster County:

– Stedman’s office includes a specialized unit of prosecutors and a county detective devoted to such crimes.

– Investigators at municipal police departments receive specialized training and meet regularly to discuss trends and developments.

– Also in Stedman’s office, there is a computer forensic unit, which works to combat internet crimes.

The PA Courts InfoShare report, produced by AOPC, included other data regarding sex offenders and offenses in the state, including;

– 4,325 people were sentenced in Pa. for sex offenses that involved Megan’s Law registration, between 2013 and 2015.

– More than 97 percent of them were males.

– About half of the entire number were between ages 19 and 35.

– Nearly half (44 percent) of the entire number involved sex abuse of children.

– Sixty percent of all the convictions involved lifetime Megan’s Law registration.