Criminal Defense Attorney New Orleans
Penn State University sex abuse scandal has resulted in new laws in Louisiana to penalize those who fail to report allegations of child sex abuse and protect those who do.
One measure protects whistleblowers who report child sex abuse from employer retaliation, while two others penalize those who fail to report to law enforcement. A fourth adds certain classes of athletics coaches to the list of individuals required to notify authorities if they suspect child sex abuse.
Under previous Louisiana law, child care providers, members of the clergy, mental health workers, elementary and secondary school teachers and others listed in the state children’s code were required to report any abuse or neglect they encountered. But if you were an average citizen and discovered child abuse, the law did not force you to report it.
Now, no matter who you are, if you see a kid being sexually abused, you have an absolute, ironclad responsibility to report that to the legal authorities immediately
Adults who fail to report it could face up to five years in prison or a $10,000 fine if convicted. This is a felony.
One lawmaker who sponsored the measure mandating that coaches report any signs of sexual abuse has said he found the facts surrounding the Pennsylvania case so offensive that he had to come up with a way to strengthen laws that protect children.
“That’s where this piece of legislation really came from; it was a reaction to that and the desire to make sure that our laws were strong enough to protect our young people,” he said.
These laws will go into affect August 1, 2012.