Senate approves bill to toughen sexual abuse witness laws

Thursday, March 29, 2012 - 7:08pm

BATON ROUGE, LA — The full Senate unanimously voted to make it a felony for a person to witness but not report child sexual abuse.

According to Senate Bill 4, anyone who doesn't report sexual abuse of a child could be locked up for five years.

However, many people who deal with kids every day are already required to report abuse. Under this law, those individuals will face even tougher punishments. Those individuals include, but are not limited to, people such as higher education officials, youth camp counselors and bus drivers.

The bill was proposed after allegations of unreported abuse involving a former Penn State University Assistant Football Coach Jerry Sandusky.

“There were many individuals that were aware of the sex abuse but weren't made aware of the need to report it,” Sen. Jean-Paul Morrell (D), said. “Had any of them stepped up to report that abuse, specifically as early as it was taking place, then it would have avoided several other children being abused and damaged.”

The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for comittee discussion and approval.

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