The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


April 8, 2014

Truancy cases were pending before fatal fire near Riverside

DANVILLE — Three truancy cases remain active against a mother whose three sons died in a fire in Rush Township, according to court records.

Two of the cases were filed in Montour County and one case is in Columbia County.

The Danville Area School District filed the private criminal complaints against Christine Dissinger for unexcused absences for her son Ryan, 10, and a student at Liberty Valley Intermediate School. They were filed in the office of Montour County District Judge Marvin Shrawder.

One citation was for 13 days of unexcused absences from the beginning of school through March 6. Another citation was for 1 and a half days of unexcused absence during the same time period.

Citations also were filed in the office of Berwick Area District Judge Richard Knecht against Dissinger. One remains active which was filed March 13, according to records.

A spokeswoman there said she found three files bearing the name of Dissinger in their office. Knecht could not be reached for comment about them late Monday afternoon.

Danville District Superintendent Cheryl Latorre said the district has a truancy policy with procedures stating a doctor’s note is required after so many days of unexcused absences.

“We can only report it. We report it to the district judge office and to children and youth,” she said.

Montour County Children and Youth Services Director Craig Patterson wasn’t in the office Monday and could not be reached for comment.

Northumberland County Commissioners Chairman Vinnie Clausi, who heads the children and youth agency in that county, said federal law prohibits him from speaking about cases involving children. He said he could not confirm nor deny if children and youth had been working with the family.

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