District Attorney Deb Ryan

Deb Ryan is the District Attorney of Chester County. She was sworn into office on January 3, 2020. Deb is the first woman and first Democrat to serve as District Attorney in the county’s history.

Deb has dedicated her entire career to public service. She served as a prosecutor advocating for justice on behalf of victims and their families for 15 years at the Philadelphia and Chester County District Attorneys’ offices. She has handled thousands of criminal cases, successfully prosecuting homicides, sexual assaults, child abuse, high level drug trafficking, domestic violence, gun violence, and virtually every other type of crime. 

During her 11 years at the Chester County District Attorney’s Office she served as the Deputy District Attorney in charge of the Child Abuse Unit and Children’s Advocacy Center, where she supervised a team of detectives and prosecutors. Deb has prosecuted some of the most violent and dangerous offenders in Chester County, and handled many high profile cases that required substantial experience, skill, and compassion in dealing with complex and sensitive issues. Most notably, she successfully prosecuted a defendant who abused his four children over the course of two decades, earning him the highest sentence in the county’s history. In 2014, Deb was awarded the “Chester County Prosecutor of the Year” for her work with children and positive collaboration with law enforcement.
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Deb also served as the County Coordinator for the Safe and Healthy Communities Initiative at the Crime Victims’ Center of Chester County. This was the first comprehensive initiative in Chester County focusing on child abuse prevention through evidence-based programming for children and adults.

Deb was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, but moved multiple times throughout her childhood because of her father’s career at General Electric. Her mother was a teacher who later began her own nonprofit organization called Champions of Caring.

She became a prosecutor because of her grandparents. Both of her maternal grandparents were Holocaust survivors. Her grandmother, Carola, was sent to three different concentration camps as a teenager and was the sole survivor out of a family of 65 people. Her grandfather, Henry, was saved by Oskar Schindler. They came to the United States after Deb’s mother was born in Germany. From the time she was very young, Deb was taught the critical importance of social justice and advocating for the vulnerable, marginalized, and oppressed members of society.     

Deb graduated from Boston University, magna cum laude, and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. She currently lives in West Chester, P.A., and has a son who attends the University of California at San Diego and a daughter at the Westtown School. 

She currently serves on the Chester County Women’s Commission, the Chester County Prison Board, the Chester County Criminal Justice Advisory Board, Liberty Mid-Atlantic HIDTA, Camp Cadet of Chester County, and the Chester County Hero Fund.