Acting AG Henry Announces Chester County Man Sentenced to Up to 23 Months in Prison for False Claims of Child Sexual Abuse

February 21, 2023 | Topic: Criminal

HARRISBURG—Acting Attorney General Michelle Henry today announced that Kiran Jonnala of Chester County was sentenced to one to 23 months in prison and a $5,000 fine for charges related to falsely accusing his neighbor of sexually assaulting the defendant’s son. After an investigation by the East Whiteland Township Police Department, the defendant’s son confirmed that he was never touched inappropriately by the victim and that he never indicated to his father in any way that he had been.

“The defendant’s actions were reckless and damaging, not just to the victim in this case, but to all those who are victims of child sexual abuse,” said Acting AG Henry. “By lying and reporting information that he knew was false, the defendant wasted valuable time and resources that could have been spent getting dangerous predators off the streets. My office continues to take all allegations of child sexual abuse very seriously and we will hold those who make false accusations accountable for their lies.”

An investigation by the Office of Attorney General revealed that during the time of the accusation, both the victim and the defendant lived in the same residential community governed by a Homeowner’s Association (HOA), of which Jonnala was the president. During this time, both the defendant and the victim also had sons who belonged to the same Boy Scout troop.

In October 2020, Jonnala emailed the leader of the Boy Scout troop that his son had been sexually abused by the victim. The troop leader contacted ChildLine to report the abuse and suspended the victim from all Boy Scout activities pending completion of the investigation into the defendant’s allegations. The evidence presented at trial demonstrated that the victim never abused Jonnala’s son, and proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant made up this false accusation in retaliation for a civil lawsuit the victim filed against the HOA the previous month.

Jonnala was found guilty of False Reports of Child Abuse and Retaliation Against Witness or Victim. He was sentenced to one to 23 months in prison and forced to pay a fine of $5,000.

This case was referred to the Office of Attorney General from the Chester County District Attorney’s Office. This case was prosecuted by Senior Deputy Attorney General Thomas Ost-Prisco.

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