20 Aug 2014
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Casey Calls for Sex Abuse Reporting Inquiry

Casey says feds should scrutinize reporting requirements following Penn State scandal

Casey Calls for Sex Abuse Reporting Inquiry

In the fallout of the alleged sexual abuse reports at Penn State University, Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) announced an inquiry Tuesday into federal laws "designed to protect children from sexual abuse."

Citing directly the charges against former Penn State coach Jerry  Sandusky and the reported inaction by university officials that led to the termination of legendary coach Joe Paterno and other administrators, Casey requested a hearing with the Senate HELP Subcommittee on Children and Families.

“The tragic events reported from Penn State have been a shock to the  nation’s conscience. It is clear we need to examine the federal laws  that are designed to protect children from this type of heinous abuse,” Casey said in a statement Tuesday.

“We must strengthen our laws to ensure that any suspected abuse is  immediately reported to law enforcement and child protective services—it  is an essential action to protect our children and ensure that these  criminals are stopped before defenseless children are harmed.”

Since state Attorney General officials indicted Sandusky, shock waves  have reverberated throughout the nation. Last week, both Casey and  fellow Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey (R) rescinded support for Paterno's Presidential Medal of Freedom nomination.

In that joint statement, Toomey and Casey said: "We hope the proper  authorities will move forward with their investigation without delay.  Penn State is an important institution in our commonwealth. We should  turn our attention to the victims of these atrocious crimes and ensure  they get the help they need. Our hearts and prayers go out to them and  their families."

In Casey's Tuesday announcement, he referenced the 40 counts against  Sandusky as impetus for federal review on sex abuse reporting. He  petitioned ranking subcommittee members Sens. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD)  and Richard Burr (R-NC) to reevaluate the reporting norms.

"(M)y office has consulted with national and Pennsylvania-based child  protection advocates on legislation to require states to improve their  mandated reporter laws to ensure that all adults recognize their legal  responsibility to report suspected child abuse, which I hope to  introduce with child advocates’ support in the days ahead," he wrote.

Specifically, Casey requests a review of the federal law on this matter—the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act. Sandusky has denied the charges.

To read Casey's statement and letter, click here.

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