A couple from Lower Mifflin Township in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to charges related to the abuse of their four foster children. Shelley Noreika, 49, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, while her husband David Noreika, 50, pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of children and simple assault.
According to prosecutors, the couple beat and emotionally abused their foster children, even portraying them as ill to receive extra subsidies for their care. The couple reportedly physically abused the children, while also being verbally abusive by calling them worthless and degrading them with vulgar insults.
Shelley Noreika took her abuse a step further, using a wiffle ball bat and a wooden spoon to beat the children. She even convinced one of the children, who was only five at the time, that they needed a feeding tube and needed to be in a wheelchair. Shelley researched seizure symptoms to be able to coach the child into accurately portraying them in front of doctors, and placed the child into special education classes the child did not need. She also portrayed the youngest child as disabled so she could receive additional money for caring for her.
County Children and Youth agencies compensate parents for providing a supportive environment for children during foster care arrangements. Shelley Noreika also lied about the child’s purported illness to gain donations from local organizations and through a GoFundMe, according to prosecutors.
Shelley Noreika has been sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for the financial aspect of her crimes. She will also serve three years of probation after being released and pay a $500 fine. She is ordered to pay $137,710.86 in restitution to the people she took money from. Shelley Noreika has been ordered to report to federal authorities on March 20.
David Noreika and Shelley Noreika will be sentenced on May 23 in the Cumberland County Courthouse in front of Judge Albert Masland. Sentencing guidelines call for Shelley Noreika to spend between 11.25 and 15 years in state prison and for David Noreika to spend between 2.5 and 4.75 years in prison.