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Sen. Casey wants hearing on sexual abuse after Penn State scandal

November 15, 2011|By Colby Itkowitz, The Morning Call
  • A Penn State fan carries a sign outside Beaver Stadium after the Penn State-Nebraska football game in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
A Penn State fan carries a sign outside Beaver Stadium after the Penn State-Nebraska… (Mario Tama / Getty Images )

In the aftermath of the Penn State child sex abuse scandal, questions still abound over who knew what, whom did they tell, and who should be culpable.
In light of that, Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) is calling on his colleagues to hold a hearing examining federal laws requiring a witness of sexual abuse to report it to police. He also plans to introduce related legislation.

In a letter to the chairwoman and ranking Republican of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee responsible for authorizing the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), Casey said the situation at Penn State "warrants an immediate review of the relationship between federal and state reporting requirements on child abuse and neglect under CAPTA."

"This committee reauthorized CAPTA last year with a new provision to strengthen reporting of child abuse and neglect, but gaps remain that leave victims of such crimes liable to fall through the cracks," Casey wrote. "Currently, only 18 states require all adults to report suspected child abuse, and Pennsylvania is not one of them."

Two Penn State officials -- Tim Curley, the school's athletic director, and Gary Schultz, senior vice president for business and finance -- are charged with perjury. The grand jury report indicting assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, says Curley and Schultz knew details of the sexual abuse claims against Sandusky but never told authorities.

Joe Paterno, the decades-long football coach, and Graham Spanier, the university president, were fired over accusations they too knew about the abuse and didn't intervene.

Casey has met with national and state child protection advocates, and intends to introduce legislation "to require states to improve their mandated reporter laws to ensure that all adults recognize their legal responsibility to report suspected child abuse," he wrote.

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