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Why on earth wouldn’t they report child abuse?

November 9, 2011
Gary Andersen, Lee Smith

Government employees who become aware of allegations of child abuse are required to report them to law enforcement agencies, right? Most people probably believe that - but it is not necessarily so.

Many Pennsylvanians were shocked last week when Jerry Sandusky, who served as defensive coordinator for the Penn State University football team for many years, was arrested. Sandusky, now retired, is accused of sexually abusing eight boys.

More shocking revelations surfaced quickly. Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley and another university administrator also were charged. They are accused of knowing of an abuse allegation against Sandusky and failing to notify police.

But an attorney for one of the administrators said Sunday he will ask to have the charge against his client dismissed. Pennsylvania state law does not require the administrator to report child abuse claims, the attorney said. The law pertains only to government employees who have direct contact with children, he explained.

Obviously, state employees such as teachers are more likely to hear of abuse. But abuse reporting laws should apply to all public employees. If they do not, lawmakers around the country should update the requirements as soon as possible.



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