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Sandusky Abuse Case Prompts New Laws

Aired 12/26/12 on KPBS News.

Three new California laws intended to improve reporting of suspected child sexual abuse take effect on January 1st.

Three new California laws intended to improve reporting of suspected child sexual abuse take effect on January 1st. One of the new laws was written by Democratic State Assemblyman Roger Dickinson of Sacramento.

"The particular inspiration for this statute was Jerry Sandusky and the kids at Penn State - the scandal there with respect to child abuse that occurred," said Dickinson.

His law requires coaches and administrators in public and private K-12 schools to report suspected child sexual abuse. Dickinson noted that after the Penn State scandal, the late head football coach Joe Paterno was quoted as saying he "didn't know exactly how to handle it."

"Paterno didn't know what to do," commented Dickinson. "No coach or trainer or athletic administrator should ever be in a position of not knowing what to do."

Two other separate bills require people who work at universities and colleges - including coaches - to report suspected cases of child abuse.

Right now, those jobs are not on California's list of mandated reporters.

Comments

Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | December 27, 2012 at 8:40 a.m. ― 1 year, 3 months ago

Here we go again with more politicians trying to selfishly exploit a tragedy for their political gain.

While these laws sound good, and probably are good for clear-cut cases, I'm concerned with the cases that are more murky.

These laws could actually increase false accusations because people will be too paranoid about getting into trouble for not reporting something.

Non-criminal things will now be misconstrued and there will probably be people prosecuted who did nothing wrong because once you are ACCUSED of a sex crime, our society eats you alive.

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