TRENTON – A Republican lawmaker plans to introduce legislation tomorrow to require witnesses of child sexual abuse to notify law enforcement officials.
The proposed legislation is a direct response to the Penn State and Syracuse University cases, says Sen. Christopher “Kip” Bateman, a member of both the Senate Judiciary and Law & Public Safety committees.
“In both cases, adults knew that the abuse was occurring yet they failed in their moral duty to take the appropriate steps to end the abuse,” Bateman said. “When my bill passes witnesses will no longer have that decision. They will be required to notify law enforcement authorities of these obscene violations.”
The legislation modifies current law in two ways: it requires any person having reasonable cause to believe that a child has been subjected to an act of sexual abuse to immediately report the act to law enforcement officials. It also makes failing to report an act of sexual abuse a crime of the fourth degree, punishable by a term of imprisonment of three to five years and a fine of no more than $15,000, or both.
“I hope that members of both parties, in both houses, support this timely legislation,” Bateman concluded.
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