From the office of State Sen. Nancy Jacobs:
As an advocate for the safety of children who has fought hard to pass legislation cracking down on child predators, I am glad to see Jerry Sandusky put behind bars for what may be the rest of his life. There he will no longer be able to prey on young boys. His many victims can hopefully heal now, knowing they did the right thing by testifying in Sandusky’s criminal trial.
But it’s important to remember the lesson learned from the Sandusky case when it comes to reporting suspected child abuse. In Maryland everyone, not just teachers or health workers, are required by law to report *suspected* child abuse. Don’t worry you might be wrong to assume abuse is occurring, but leave it to the experts like social workers and police, to investigate. This is the only safe thing to do for the sake of children who could continue to be subject to abuse if you don’t report it.
Last year I tried to pass a bill that would put teeth into Maryland’s child abuse reporting laws by adding a misdemeanor penalty for not reporting. Right now there is no inducement to report suspected abuse, except for possible action against the state license of a professional such as a teacher, social worker or doctor. During testimony on my bill it was revealed that
only one teacher ever faced licensing sanctions over several decades.
It’s time for the State of Maryland to do more to protect young children who may not report they are being abused. There should be a penalty for those who suspect it, but turn their heads the other way, preferring not to get involved.