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Jacobs: Bills to Protect Children

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Most of us want all children to be safe. But the sad truth is there are repeated reports of children who are abused physically or sexually and even murdered.

When they are harmed we must go to police. That did not happen in two high profile cases that captured the attention of the American public: the Casey Anthony trial and the scandal at Penn State University. I am sponsoring bills that create penalties for not telling the authorities when a child is missing or dead, and for not reporting child abuse.

At Penn State an assistant football coach stands accused of sexually abusing as many as ten children over fifteen years. The abuse continued unabated because people who knew didn't go to police.

Maryland has good laws in place currently about who must report child abuse. They include almost everyone. Even if the abuse isn't witnessed firsthand, our law requires people to call Social Services or police. Then experts will investigate. This way if there is abuse, it can be stopped early. My bill gives that reporting requirement teeth by adding a penalty for non-compliance.

In Florida, Casey Anthony was acquitted in the murder of her small child. Evidence showed she hid information of Caylee's disappearance for over a month.

The case brought to light a loophole in the law in states around the country, including Maryland. I have a bill that would require parents to call police when a child is dead or missing.

Both of my bills have been endorsed by the Maryland State's Attorneys' Association.

Senator Nancy Jacobs


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