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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: August 16, 2018 03:48 PM
From: Representative Todd Stephens
To: All House members
Subject: Grand Jury recommendations to better protect children
The recently released grand jury report detailing horrific child abuse across the Commonwealth brings to light some improvements we can make to the mandatory reporting provisions in the Child Protective Services Law. Following the revelations of the Jerry Sandusky investigation we rewrote our Child Protective Services Law as it relates to those who are required to report suspected child abuse by virtue of their profession or position. My bill which became Act 32 of 2014 dramatically increased the penalties for failing to report suspected child abuse. The recent Grand Jury Report detailing widespread child sexual abuse recognized these efforts but suggested recommendations to clarify when those tougher penalties apply.

Specifically the report reads, “Thanks to prior grand juries, the legislature has addressed that by eliminating some loopholes in reporting requirements for institutions like the church. Now there is a new, higher penalty for an ongoing failure to report continuing sexual abuse. After looking at that law, though, we're concerned that the new language might not be clear enough to cover all the covering up we have seen.”

I will be introducing legislation, consistent with the grand jury‘s recommendations, to clarify exactly when the higher penalties apply. Please join me in cosponsoring this important piece of legislation.

Introduced as HB2641