What Laws Need to Change to Protect Victims of Child Abuse?
Marci A. Hamilton is a Law Professor at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, author of "Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect Its Children,” and graduate of Penn State’s graduate program.
“We keep hearing the coaches did what was legally required, but morally... what legally needs to change to protect victims?” asks Anderson.
“There are two ways the law keeps victims secret and under wraps. One is: the mandatory reporting laws in Pennsylvania are way too short.”
“So when you say mandatory reporting laws. It's not mandatory that someone who witnesses a child being raped has to report it.” says Anderson.
“Right, well, Joe Paterno, all he had to do is tell his boss and he's off the hook,” says Hamilton. “So what he did legally is appropriate. What he did morally is wrong. But in the State of Pennsylvania, not enough people have to report. If you find out that a priest is abusing a child, many times if it's his higher-ups, he doesn't have to report it.
Hamilton continues to say other laws that need to change are with regard to Pennsylvania’s Statute of limitations -- meaning, there are certain deadlines in effect that do not give victims enough time to prosecute their perpetrators.