Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Fallout from Sandusky scandal at Penn State reverberates through statehouses across the U.S.

On the day Happy Valley lays its once-iconic football coach to rest comes this AP report, highlighting how the scandal that tarnished the legacy Joe Paterno is sparking debate in state legislatures throughout the country.

Almost all states currently make it a crime for people in certain professions to fail to report child abuse, so there is uncertainty about what more can be done statutorily.

PSU scandal sparks national legislative debates
Published on - NCAA Football | shared via feedly

 The child sexual abuse scandal at Penn State University has prompted state lawmakers across the nation to take another look at laws designed to protect children and punish child predators.

Thirty-eight legislatures are back in session this month, most for the first time since retired assistant Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky was charged in November with child sex abuse and two school officials were charged with failing to properly report abuse allegations. At least 12 states are considering mandatory reporting legislation this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and more are expected to craft bills as their sessions get into full swing.

In addition to measures to improve the reporting of suspected child sex abuse, bills have been drafted across the country that would increase or even eliminate the statutes of limitations for bringing criminal or civil cases against alleged abusers.

"The alleged incidents at Penn State I think awakened something in our national consciousness about protecting our kids," said Mike Feuer, a California assemblyman and chairman of that legislature's Judiciary Committee.
Read the full story here.


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