LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced Thursday former Luzerne County Children and Youth Services Director, Joanne Van Saun has pleaded guilty to obstructing investigations into allegations of child abuse.
According to Shapiro, Van Saun pleaded guilty to one count of endangering the welfare of children and two counts of obstruction in child abuse cases. She resigned from her position after she was arrested in July 2021.
In a statement Attorney General Shapiro stated:
“Joanne Van Saun turned a blind eye toward the abuse and neglect of children, violating the law and her duty to protect our most vulnerable. We will continue to do our part in keeping children in Luzerne County and across the Commonwealth safe, to guarantee that if you call the Pennsylvania ChildLine, your report will be taken seriously, and that we will prosecute anyone who fails in their responsibilities and puts our young people at risk.”PA Attorney General Josh Shapiro
Investigators stated they first learned in May 2017, Van Saun, 58, directed employees to terminate at least 217 reports of child abuse and neglect received from the state ChildLine system. ChildLine is part of a mandated statewide child protective services program.
Judge Scott Evans in Dauphin County accepted Van Saun’s plea. She will be sentenced at a later date.