Report on Sandusky Case Underscores Need to Strengthen and Standardize State Child Sexual Abuse Reporting Laws
Senator Menendez called for passage of bills to help prevent and address child sexual abuse and campus safety
July 12, 2012
Washington – In light of former FBI Director Louis Freeh’s report on the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case which confirmed the involvement of senior members of Penn State’s administration in concealing and failing to respond to allegations of sexual abuse by Jerry Sandusky, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) called again for the passage of legislation to strengthen and standardize state child sexual abuse reporting laws.
“It’s despicable and simply unacceptable that Penn State officials failed to fulfill their responsibilities under federal law to report child abuse,” said Senator Menendez. “This is why I introduced legislation that would heighten penalties for failure to report campus safety violations under the Clery Act and mandate reporting of child abuse. Clearly, we need to make sure that university officials understand they cannot ignore campus regulations, especially when they concern our children’s safety and well being. And most importantly, they cannot ignore child abuse.”
Menendez has introduced the Child Abuse Reporting Enforcement Act (CARE) which requires states to mandate the reporting of child abuse to law enforcement and child protective services, and requires states to make it a felony offense with a minimum penalty of one year for failing to report. The goal of this legislation is to create consistency among state child abuse reporting laws. Menendez also has introduced the Michael Pohle Jr. Campus Emergency Alert Act which would significantly increase penalties for colleges and universities that fail to timely and effectively warn students about crimes committed on campus, including sexual abuse. It would also allocate the fines collected to a special fund within the Department of Education dedicated to campus safety.
The Freeh report found Penn State in violation of the Clery Act of 1990, a federal statute that requires the collecting and reporting of the crimes such as Sandusky committed on campus in 2001. The report also cited a “lack of awareness of child abuse issues, the Clery Act, and whistleblower policies and protections” at Penn State.
Search Press Releases
Recent Press Releases
- 05/21 Syria Transition Support Act Introduced by Menendez, Corker Passes Senate Foreign Relations Committee »
- 05/21 Senator Menendez Cites “Second Scandal” of 501(c)(4) Abuse in Wake of IRS Controversy »
- 05/21 Menendez, Lautenberg Announce Federal Funding for Maywood Fire Department »
- 05/20 Menendez Senate Floor Remarks on the Impending Confirmation of Thomas Perez »