Downingtown judge allegedly covered up son's citation

A Chester County magisterial district judge resigned Tuesday after she was arrested for allegedly concealing a citation her son received to prevent him from violating a probation period he was serving at the time, the Pennsylvania Attorney General said.

Rita Arnold, 56, of Lone Eagle Road in Downingtown, is charged with one count of tampering with records and one count of obstruction of the administration of law, the state Attorney General said.

District Justice Rita A. Arnold.

The charges stem from a summary offense citation issued by state police to one of her sons after he and a sibling got into an "altercation" at Arnold's home Jan. 19, 2010. After Arnold, who is the district judge for Downingtown, received the citation, she allegedly returned it to the trooper. It was then immediately returned to Downingtown district court, but Arnold allegedly failed to docket the citation or follow proper procedures to transfer the matter to another court.

The state Attorney General's office is alleging that she concealed the citation for two months in order to protect her son from additional sanctions with the Chester County Probation Department.

The legal trouble for Arnold over the alleged ticket coverup for her son didn't begin Tuesday, but has a long history dating to early 2011. That's when an investigation into the alleged ticket fix began and it wasn't completed until February 2012, according to an Inquirer report at the time.

Arnold allegedly covered up the citation for assault filed against her son Forrest C. Solomon Jr., 34, who has a 12-year history of convictions ranging from indecent assault to drug offenses, according to the Inquirer report.

The altercation at the center of the case against Arnold reportedly was between Solomon and his half-brother, Jonathan Arnold, 29, a Birmingham Township police officer. Both siblings lived with Rita Arnold at the time.

A deputy attorney general will lead the prosecution of Arnold in Chester County courts, a press release said yesterday.

Contact Brian X. McCrone at 215-854-2267 or Follow @brianxmccrone on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443; Follow @phillynews on Twitter.

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