District Attorney Deb Ryan

Deb Ryan is the District Attorney of Chester County. She was sworn into office on January 3, 2020, becoming 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 in the Philadelphia and Chester County District Attorneys’ Offices for 15 years, advocating for justice on behalf of victims and their families. She has handled thousands of criminal cases, successfully prosecuting homicides, sexual assaults, child abuse, high-level drug trafficking, domestic violence, gun violence, and many other types of crime. 
During her 11 years at the Chester County District Attorney’s Office, she was the Deputy District Attorney in charge of the Child Abuse Unit and Children’s Advocacy Center. There she supervised a team of detectives and prosecutors and prosecuted some of the most violent and dangerous offenders in Chester County. Many of these high-profile cases involved complex and sensitive issues and required substantial experience, skill, and compassion. Her most notable prosecution was of a defendant who abused his four children over 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.

Deb also served as the County Coordinator for the Safe and Healthy Communities Initiative at the Crime Victims’ Center of Chester County. The Safe and Healthy Communities Initiative was Chester County’s first comprehensive approach to child abuse prevention through evidence-based programming geared to children and adults.
Born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, she moved multiple times throughout her childhood because of her father’s career at General Electric. Her mother was a teacher who later began a nonprofit organization called Champions of Caring.

Deb 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 resides in West Chester, PA, and has a son who attends the University of California at San Diego and a daughter at the Westtown School.  

She 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. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association.
deb ryan