HARRISBURG, Pa — A lawsuit filed in Federal Court alleges the York County Office of Children, Youth and Families disregarded the safety of a young boy when he was placed in foster care with a convicted pedophile. The complaint, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court, states the boy was taken out of his mother’s home and placed in a foster home with Ronald Witmer and his wife in 2012. Witmer was arrested for sexually abusing the boy in April. He pleaded guilty in August to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and corruption of minors. According to the suit, the boy never should have been placed in the home because Witmer had two previous convictions: in 1989 he fondled a 4 year-old boy and in 1990 he took two young boys into his bedroom and exposed himself to them and demanded they show him their genitals as well.
The complaint also says the York Office of Children Youth and Family was overwhelmed by both staff turnover and a high volume of abuse reports, something chronicled in recent reports and critiques of agencies across the Commonwealth. The state downgraded York’s license in 2015.
The lawsuit, filed by the firm Andreozzi & Associates, P.C., on behalf of the boy and his mother, names the county, along with three individuals, Nan Mavor, Jacy Nemec, and Cathy Lyman, as defendants. It alleges the boy suffered severe and permanent injuries as a result of Witmer’s abuse. The plaintiffs seek unspecified damages for as well as attorneys’ fees and costs.
FOX43 reached out to York County officials for comment. According to Communications Director Mark Walters, the county does not comment on existing or pending litigation. Since the case involves a minor, child protective service confidentiality precludes the county confirming or denying any involvement with the family.