Posted by Jerry Hinnen
The fallout from the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State has reached all the way to the U.S. Senate.
A Senate committee will hold a special hearing dedicated to examining current laws protecting children from abuse and predation--and whether those laws will need to be stronger in the wake of the Sandusky grand jury allegations.
Already, multiple bills have been introduced in the Senate aimed at requiring witnesses of child abuse to report offenders to law enforcement. In the House, Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) has introduced the "Speak Out to Stop Child Abuse Act," which would mandate witnesses to report abuse to either law enforcement or child protective services.
The Senate hearing has been called by Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), chairwoman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension subcommittee on children and families. Mikulski said she was "troubled and distraught about the child sexual abuse allegations" at PSU. Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.) said the hearing would be "an opportunity to ensure that our federal laws are protecting our children from dangerous sexual predators."
The Sandusky story has, sadly, long since gone past the point of being about a football coach and a football program, and that it could spark a change in the way federal laws treat the reporting and prevention of child abuse is just the latest evidence of how important the story has become.