LOWER MIFFLIN TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WHTM) — Shelley Noreika, 47, is facing felony charges after Pa. State Police say the Cumberland County woman subjected her adopted child to unnecessary and painful medical treatments for years.
According to court paperwork, PSP started to investigate Noreika in September 2019 after receiving a Childline referral. According to state police, the referral was made after Noreika brought her 6 -year-old adopted daughter to the Capital Area Intermediate Unit for an evaluation to be placed in a special needs class and there were “large discrepancies” between Noreika’s report of the child’s abilities and her actual capabilities.
In January 2021, another childline referral was made, this time by a doctor who had been seeing the child for approximately one year and was “very suspicious of Munchausen by proxy;” a mental health problem in which a caregiver makes up or causes an illness or injury to a person in their care.
According to PSP, the investigation revealed Noreika provided false information to doctors which led to a long list of unnecessary treatments including a feeding tube, leg braces, seizure medications, and an attempt to have doctors give the child a colostomy bag.
The criminal complaint also states when Noreika didn’t get the opinions she wanted from one doctor she would get “second or third opinions in attempts of achieving her goal.”
Police say Noreika also created digital fundraising campaigns to cover medical costs and reached out to local organizations and churches, collecting a total of $5,402.15 in donations.
Noreika’s attorney says the accusations against her are “untrue.”
“Mrs. Noreika is a loving adoptive mother who has used incredible amounts of energy and expense into raising her three adopted children. The accusations against her are untrue and a mischaracterization of the facts. The notion that she simultaneously adopted three sibling children in hopes of making a charity cash grab, as suggested in the charging documents, is simply unreasonable. Any parent with young children, particularly those from troubled backgrounds, knows that raising them is an enterprise worthy not only of charity but also requiring tremendous amounts of work and compassion,” said Dave Erhard, attorney, Steve Rice Law.
Noreika has been charged with aggravated assault – victim less than 13 and defendant 18 or older, simple assault, endangering the welfare of children – parent/guardian/other commits offense, and theft by deception -false impression. She is out on $25,000 unsecured bail. Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 15.
To read the full criminal complaint, click here.