April 23, 2013
Downingtown Magisterial District Judge arrested following allegations she concealed a citation to protect son
HARRISBURG - A Magisterial District Judge from Downingtown, Chester County resigned her position today, after she was arrested by agents from the Attorney General's Office. Her arrest follows allegations that she concealed a citation in order to protect her son from a potential probation violation.
Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane identified the defendant as Rita Arnold, 56, 1307 Lone Eagle Road, Downingtown.
According to the criminal complaint, on Jan. 19, 2010, an altercation occurred at Arnold's Downingtown home between her sons. As a result of the altercation, one of her sons was issued a summary offense citation, which was filed the following day by a state trooper in Arnold's court.
The charges state that after Arnold received the citation, she returned it to the trooper. Although the citation was immediately returned to the district court, Arnold allegedly did not docket the citation and failed to follow proper procedures to transfer the matter to another district court.
Agents said that Arnold concealed the citation for 2 ½ months in an effort to protect her son from additional sanctions with the Chester County Probation department.
After her son was in rehab, Arnold, without the knowledge or approval of the President Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, docketed the citation using her computer username and password, according to the criminal complaint.
Arnold is charged with one count of tampering with records or identification and one count of obstruction administration of law or other governmental function.
The case will be prosecuted in Chester County by Senior Deputy Attorney General Susan DiGiacomo of the Attorney General's Criminal Prosecutions Section.
(A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty.)
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