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Lawmaker Wants Tougher Child Abuse Reporting Law

Montgomery County State Representative Todd Stephens says the penalties for failing to report child abuse are too weak under current Pennsylvania law. He says the Penn State child sex abuse scandal brought it to his attention, and he found that the law is also complicated and confusing.

“Certain people have to report under certain circumstances.  You can report to your supervisor if you’re part of a big institution.  You don’t necessarily have to report it to the police, but your supervisor has to report it.  You know, it’s crazy.  Shortly after this broke I started working on legislation, and I’ve got a ton of co-sponsors, to make everybody a mandatory reporter.  If you see a child being victimized from a crime, I think we have a responsibility to protect children here in society.”

Stephens says he is preparing a bill to expand the statute of limitations on child sex abuse crimes and provide stiffer penalties for people who fail to report it, and he hopes to get more ideas at public hearings on his legislation.  He appeared recently on the WNPV talk program Legally Speaking.
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