Greensburg, PA – State Senator Kim Ward (R-39th), Chairperson for Pennsylvania Senate’s Aging and Youth Committee, responded today to the findings in the Penn State Special Investigative Counsel Report Related to the Gerald Sandusky Child Sexual Abuse Case. Senator Ward was the force behind the creation of Pennsylvania’s Task Force on Child Protection, and is pushing for increased penalties for individuals who fail to report suspected child abuse (Senate Bill 1413).
“It is a sad day in Pennsylvania to read how the former leaders of one of our most revered institutions of higher learning, blatantly disregarded the safety of children in a horribly misguided attempt to protect its image and its own best interests. Most disturbing in this report is how University officials deemed it more important to treat an assistant football coach more ‘humanely’ than a child who was sexually abused. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is more disgusting than that!
This report serves notice to the entire State that we need to strengthen our child protection laws, and establish a stricter set of consequences for those individuals who are required to report suspected child abuses and fail to do so. You hope that the moral character of an individual would compel people to immediately report suspected child abuse if they see it; however, this report highlights just how influential money and power are in clouding judgment and endangering the welfare of children.
I am encouraged by the progress of the Task Force on Child Protection, and am anxious to begin implementing their recommendations when they are published in November. In the meantime, the Legislature can send a message now and pass Senate Bill 1413 which will increase criminal penalties for those mandated reporters who willfully fail in their duty to protect our youth,” Senator Ward said.
Under Senate Resolution 250, The Task Force on Child Protection is required to provide a final report on its recommendations to the Legislature and the Governor by November 2012.