Data not within state requirements for retention, officials said
By Kathleen Brady Shea, Managing Editor, The Times
An attempt to learn more about the foster-parenting history of the former county employee accused of molesting two girls in his care has been thwarted by the fact that the state does not require the retention of such records, county officials said Tuesday.
Leroy K. Mitchell, 60, of West Bradford Township, waived his preliminary hearings Monday on multiple counts of aggravated indecent assault, endangering the welfare of children, and related offenses in two separate cases. Investigators said Mitchell was a caregiver for the two alleged victims, not their foster parent.
Assistant District Attorney Deborah Ryan said police have identified additional victims. She declined to elaborate, citing the ongoing investigation. Mitchell, who is represented by Assistant Public Defender David Miller, worked at Chester County Prison as a corrections officer for 22 years until the charges surfaced in late May and he was immediately terminated, county officials said.
Mitchell was a foster parent with Chester County from 1989 to 1997, said Rebecca Brain, a county spokeswoman. She said the county’s Department of Children, Youth and Families keeps records of children for five years after they leave the foster-care system, as required by state law.
State law does not require retention of foster parent records for any period of time, Brain said. “Therefore, we do not have records to indicate how many children were placed in the Mitchells’ care during the time period they fostered children for the county,” she said.
According to the criminal complaints, the assaults against the girls – one who was 9 at the time and the other who was between the ages of 7 and 9 – occurred during a swimming outing at the Brandywine Creek and at Mitchell’s residence. During interviews with investigators, Mitchell admitted having repeated indecent contact with the girls, the complaints said.
Mitchell is being held at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility after failing to post $650,000 cash bail.