PDAI Announces Election of New Board Members

August 19, 2020

District Attorneys from Chester, Crawford, Northampton, Schuylkill Counties tapped to serve on education and training arm of prosecutor’s group
Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania District Attorneys Institute (PDAI) announced today district attorneys from Chester, Crawford, Northampton and Schuylkill Counties were elected to serve on its board of directors. The PDAI is the education and training arm of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association (PDAA).

District Attorneys Deborah Ryan (Chester), Francis Schultz (Crawford) Terence Houck (Northampton), and Michael O’Pake (Schuylkill) were all elected to help the institute develop education and training programs for prosecutors, law enforcement officials, and victim/witness professionals in Pennsylvania.

“We welcome these district attorneys to the institute’s leadership and look forward to their ideas in order to keep our education and training programs fresh and engaging,” said PDAI President and Butler County District Attorney Richard A. Goldinger. “We are confident they will help us continue to provide the highest quality programming to help prosecutors and other law enforcement professionals be the best they can be.”

District Attorney Deborah Ryan is the first woman to serve as district attorney in Chester County. She has experience as a prosecutor for 15 years in the Philadelphia and Chester County District Attorney Offices. During her 11 years at the Chester County District she served as the deputy district attorney in charge of the Child Abuse Unit and Children’s Advocacy Center. In 2014 she was awarded the “Chester County Prosecutor of the Year” for her work with children and positive collaboration with law enforcement. Ryan also served as the County Coordinator for the Safe and Healthy Communities Initiative at the Crime Victims’ Center of Chester County.

District Attorney Francis Schultz has served as District Attorney of Crawford County since 2000. Prior to becoming district attorney, he served as a Crawford County assistant district attorney from 1995-1998.  He is currently serving his sixth term as district attorney. He is a past president of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association and previously served on the board and as the President of Pennsylvania District Attorneys Institute. He was appointed by Governor Tom Corbett to serve as a member of the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing in 2010 and served through 2016. DA Schultz currently serves as Chairman of the Crawford County Prison Board and is a member of the Child Death Review Team and the Criminal Justice Advisory Board.

District Attorney Terence Houck was sworn in as Northampton District Attorney in January 2020. Prior to that he served in various prosecutorial positions in several offices, including head of the Bucks County child abuse/sex offense unit, chief deputy district attorney and chief of the violent crime unit in Lehigh County and became the first full-time first assistant district attorney in Northampton County. Houck also graduated from the Philadelphia Police Department in 1977 and served as an officer with the Philadelphia Police Department for ten years.

District Attorney Michael A. O’Pake served 22 years as an assistant district attorney in Schuylkill County before resigning in 2013 to work as an assistant public defender and in his own law practice. He was elected district attorney in 2017. As district attorney he helped established Schuylkill County REACH to work collaboratively across all agencies to reduce overdoses and overdose deaths in Schuylkill County and worked with the Pennsylvania Attorney General to bring the PA Law Enforcement Treatment Initiative (LETI) to Schuylkill County to inform law enforcement about diversion strategies, stigma resolution, addiction and treatment resources.

The Pennsylvania District Attorneys Institute was founded in 1983 for the purpose of developing and providing educational materials and training seminars for district attorneys. In addition to providing training and materials to district attorneys and their staffs, the Institute also conducts child abuse investigation courses, case law updates and other training courses for Pennsylvania’s law enforcement officials and administers programs to provide training to victim service professionals.  For more information about the Institute and its offerings, click here.

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August 19, 2020

Contact: Lindsay Vaughan, Director of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Institute lvaughan@pdaa.org or (717) 238-5416.

(Editor’s Note: Updated on 9/4/2020 to correct a spelling error)