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New Sexual Abuse Laws Implemented After Penn State Scandal

Posted on Jun 13, 2012 4:35pm PDT

After the infamous scandal of alleged sexual abuse between Penn State's assistant football coach and eight boys over the course of 15 years, four new laws have been implemented into Louisiana law. These laws have been designed to both protect those who report child sexual abuse, and to punish those who fail to do so, as another preventive measure against unreported sexual abuse of children.

One law protects employees who come forward about sexual abuse from employer retaliation—being fired, suspended or demoted, for example—two penalize those who fail to report and/or disclose information about sexual abuse, and a fourth adds athletic coaches to the list of people who are required to report suspected child abuse to the authorities—among the others include, child care providers, members of the clergy, mental health workers, and elementary school teachers.

These laws have been implemented in the hope that sexual abuse will not go unnoticed any longer, as it was for so long in the case of Penn State coach, Jerry Sandusky. In Sandusky's case, it was reported that in 2002, a graduate student, Mike McQueary, witnessed inappropriate behavior between Sandusky and a naked boy in a locker room shower—which he then reported to head football coach, Joe Paterno. Paterno then claims to have reported the incident to the school's athletic director, but it was never relayed to any law enforcement agency.

In lieu of this incident, Senator J.P. Morrell explains that "we decided to amend the law and create this new provision that said 'Listen, if you see a kid being sexually abused, you have an absolute, ironclad responsibility to report that to the legal authorities immediately.'" The consequences of failing to report sexual abuse could now result in up to 5 years in prison or a $10,000 fine for any adult that decides to look the other way.

Sexual abuse is, sadly, not as uncommon as we would like to think. A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2006, showed that about 20% of the participants reported being sexual abused as a child. If you or your child has become the victim of sexual abuse, it is your duty to make sure that the responsible party is held accountable for their criminal behavior.

These experiences are often severely traumatic and can cause life-long emotional damage, but seeking justice is an elemental part in getting over such a devastating experience. Sandusky now faces 52 criminal charges, and it is likely that he will face very serious consequences if, and when, he is convicted. Contact a North Carolina personal injury lawyer from Lanier Law Group, P.A. today to bring your abuser to the same deserved justice.

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