Sweeping changes suggested for Pa. child-abuse law

Tuesday - 11/27/2012, 10:55am EST

By MARK SCOLFORO
Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A commission set up by the Pennsylvania Legislature after Jerry Sandusky's molestation arrest last year says "sweeping" changes to state law are needed.

The Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection announced Tuesday its recommendations, which include rewriting the Child Protective Services Law.

It says the state should change how child abuse cases are handled, revamp how child abuse crimes are investigated, and improve training for those responsible for child welfare.

The group says the state should eliminate a requirement that children have to experience severe pain in order to be classified as abuse under the law.

The definition of "perpetrator" would be expanded greatly and penalties would be harsher for people who don't report abuse.

Sandusky is serving a state prison sentence for child sexual abuse.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

A commission set up by the Pennsylvania Legislature after Jerry Sandusky's molestation arrest last year will issue a report that could recommend changes to state law.

The Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection Tuesday may also suggest new procedures to protect children.

The 11-person group was set up by the state House and Senate, with membership drawn from the legal profession, educators and health care workers.

The chairman, Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler, had hoped to have the report issued before the current legislative session ends so that lawmakers could take action, but the General Assembly is not expected to return until January.

Possible areas of focus include how child abuse is reported, the need to pass new laws or amend existing laws, and potential improvements in training.

Sandusky, 68, a former Penn State assistant football coach, is serving a 30- to 60-year state prison sentence after being convicted this summer of 45 counts of sexual abuse of boys.

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Online:

http://www.childprotection.state.pa.us/index.cfm


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