Black Eye for Dauphin County

County makes Mistake in Child Support Case but Man still Pays

In 2001, Walter Andre Sharpe Jr. received a certified letter from Dauphin County Domestic Relations about unpaid child support payments. The letter claimed he had not paid support for an 11-year-old daughter he had in Harrisburg, PA. Sharpe ignored the letter because he knew he didn’t have a daughter and had only been to Harrisburg once.

According to The Patriot News, the county had the wrong man but didn’t figure that out until Sharpe had gone to jail four times, lost his job, was estranged from his four children and paid more than $12,000 in support. Finally in 2007, a judge reversed a decision that found Sharpe was the father but ruled that Sharpe was not entitled to compensation for the support he was forced to pay.

The letter had included personal information of a man named Walter Sharpe, which is why Sharpe knew the county had the wrong guy. The agency ignored Sharpe’s DNA test requests, saying there had been an investigation that concluded Sharpe was the right father. Once the decision was reversed, the agency blamed the other man for not filing the right paperwork. Sharpe’s lawyer claims that instead of fixing the error when Sharpe contacted the agency, the Dauphin County Domestic Relations just changed the personal information to match Sharpe’s.