Deadbeat parents get a chance for amnesty

March 23, 2007|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - Hundreds of deadbeat dads - and some deadbeat moms - with outstanding bench warrants will have a two-week window of opportunity to make an effort to settle their accounts without fear of arrest under an amnesty program being offered by the Franklin County Domestic Relations Office.

Those 282 men and women who have bench warrants for not paying child support, spousal support or alimony will have from Monday to April 6 to go to the Domestic Relations Office at 218 N. Second St. to take advantage of the amnesty program, Director Teresa Anthony said.

Those who take advantage of the offer will not be arrested if they make a substantial payment on their account, make arrangements for a payment schedule and execute a wage attachment, according to the program rules.

Topping the list for the most amount owed is Brett D. Rinker, 46, last known to live in the Chambersburg area, who owes $60,662.51, according to Domestic Relations records. The 282 people owe a total of $2,147,666.87, Enforcement Supervisor Sherri Stroble said.


"I guess we have about 75 defendants who we do not have an address for," Stroble said. There are addresses for the others, but they are often that of a parent or relative or out of date, she said.

Enforcement Officer Todd McIntire would like to hear from Gary L. Johnson, 34, last known to be in the Greencastle, Pa., area. His bench warrant was issued Feb. 25, 2004, but Johnson has not totally disregarded his responsibilities.

"Every so often, he sends in a payment or two ... He just doesn't want to go to jail," McIntire said. Now Johnson has a chance to set up a payment plan for the $7,392.46 that he allegedly owes without worrying about getting handcuffed.

Bradley B. Valentine, 37, also of Greencastle, made his last payment in August 2004 and now allegedly owes $22,463.88 in support payments.

"He's been listed for court 15 times, has had bench warrants five times and been sentenced to jail four times," Anthony said. "Amnesty would apply to him if he comes into the office and sets up a payment plan."

"He's been listed for court multiple times. The bench warrant has been out since '04," Enforcement Officer Jennifer Stroup said of Matthew T. Salisbury, 35, of Shippensburg, Pa. Domestic Relations has an address for Salisbury, who allegedly owes $27,151, "but we don't know exactly where he is," Stroup said.

Travis O. Phillips, 32, formerly of Greencastle, is in the Top 10, and allegedly owes more than $40,000. McIntire said he might be in Vermont. Anthony said the defendants are scattered across the country.

"They get lost," she said.

The list includes 29 people with Chambersburg addresses, 27 from Maryland, nine from Waynesboro, Pa., seven from Mercersburg, Pa., and six from Greencastle.

Bench warrants for support cases have been served by the Sheriff's Office, but these civil warrants are a lower priority than criminal bench warrants, Anthony said. Often people are taken into custody after being pulled over for a traffic violation, or otherwise falling afoul of the law, she said.

To increase service of the warrants, Anthony said her office will be switching to constables to track down the men and women in arrears on their support payments.

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