Child abuse allegations pile up

Child abuse allegations continued to pile up last week against a Newville woman accused of abusing her three adoptive children.

Child abuse
Shelley Noreika

Pennsylvania State Police arrested Shelley Noreika, 47, Wednesday, charging her with aggravated assault, strangulation and endangering the welfare of children. Those child abuse charges — 14 counts, mostly felonies — are on top of seven prior charges across two cases levied against her last spring.

She faces preliminary hearings in all three cases July 15 before Magisterial District Judge Anthony Adams.

In the latest allegations, Noreika is accused of hitting three children, ages 6, 7 and 9, with a wooden paddle or backscratcher on the bottom of their feet, hands and bare buttocks. Other allegations include forcing the children to touch a hot stove, biting and choking them and slamming them to the floor.

The incidents happened between Dec. 20, 2017 and January 21, 2021, police allege in charging documents.

The case came to light earlier in the year when a doctor treating one of the children made a Childline referral outlining suspicions that Noreika was misrepresenting the child’s symptoms.

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Doctor first alerted authorities

The doctor suspected a mental health problem called “munchausen by proxy.” The term refers to a mental illness in which a caregiver makes up or causes an illness or injury to the person in their care.

Pennsylvania State Police allege in the first case filed against Noreika that she provided false information to doctors which led to a long list of unnecessary medical treatments for one of the children.

Affidavits filed in the cases claim she went from doctor to doctor until she got the diagnoises she wanted.

Once she had those diagnoises, she used online social media accounts to raise money for the treatments, the documents allege. Police allege she collected $5,402.16 in donations.

The latest charges deal with physical abuse of the three children, who were adopted by Noreika and her husband at some point in the past to keep the siblings together.

David Noreika has also been charged with child abuse and is free on unsecured bail. The Noreika’s no longer have custody of the children.

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The April case

PSP filed its first case against Shelley Noreika April 19, charging her with:

  • Aggravated Assault – Victim Less Than 13 and Defendant 18 or older, a first degree felony
  • Simple Assault, a first degree misdemeanor
  • Endangering Welfare of Children – Parent/Guardian/Other Commits Offense, a third degree felony, and
  • Theft By Deception-False Impression , a third degree felony.

Those charges dealt with the medical issues of her adopted daughter; and the collection of donations to help with medical costs. Noreika is free on unsecured bail.

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The May cases

On May 1, police filed charges against both David and Shelley Noreika, alleging a variety of abusive acts.

Shelley faces the following charges in that case:

  • Strangulation – Applying Pressure to Throat or Neck, a second degree felony
  • Simple Assault, a first degree misdemeanor
  • Harassment – Subject Other to Physical Contact, a summary charge.

David faces the following charges in that case:

  • Strangulation – Applying Pressure to Throat or Neck, a first degree felony
  • Endangering Welfare of Children – Parent/Guardian/Other Commits Offense, a third degree felony
  • Simple Assault, a first degree misdemeanor
  • Aggravated Assault – Attempts to cause SBI or causes injury with extreme indifference, a first degree felony

A magisterial district judge in Cumberland County freed the couple on unsecured bail.

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The June case

Police filed the current case against Shelley Noreika June 30, alleging more abusive behavior against all three children. This time the judge ordered her held on $25,000 secured bail. She promptly posted that bail through a professional bondsman.

Shelley’s latest charges include:

  • Aggravated Assault – Attempts to cause SBI or causes injury with extreme indifference, three counts, all first degree felonies
  • Aggravated Assault – Victim Less Than 13 and Defendant 18 or older, three counts, all first degree felonies
  • Endangering Welfare of Children – Parent/Guardian/Other Commits Offense, three counts, all third degree felonies
  • Simple Assault, three counts, all first degree misdemeanors
  • Strangulation – Applying Pressure to Throat or Neck, two counts, second degree felonies

Preliminary hearings in all the cases are set for July 15 before Shippensburg’s Magisterial District Judge H. Anthony Adams.

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