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22 Kan. J.L. & Pub. Pol'y 235 (2012-2013)
Reforming Mandated Reporting Laws after Sandusky

handle is hein.journals/kjpp22 and id is 251 raw text is: REFORMING MANDATED REPORTING LAWS AFTER SANDUSKY
Starla J. Williams*
INTRODUCTION
The child sexual abuse case at Penn State University (University or Penn
State) exposes numerous gaps in mandated reporting requirements of suspected
child abuse.' Details of the allegations underlying the conviction of former
Penn State football coach Gerald (Jerry) Sandusky are undeniably shocking;2
however, the public is most outraged by charges that former high ranking
University administrators failed to report accusations against Sandusky to child
protection authorities.3 Unfortunately, laws that require prompt disclosure of
* Assistant Professor of Legal Methods, Widener University School of Law, J.D. Duquesne
University, LL.M. Georgetown University Law Center. The author thanks Katie Adam and
James Freeman for their research assistance. The author appreciates Lolita Buckner Innis and
David J. Herring for their helpful comments on drafts of this article and acknowledges the
advocacy of Ron and Julia L. Tilley, founders of Justice4victim2, a community-based coalition of
activists devoted to reforming mandated reporting laws.
1. Child abuse is defined in section 6303 of the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services
Law (CPSL):
(i) Any recent act or failure to act by a perpetrator which causes nonaccidental
serious physical injury to a child under 18 years of age.
(ii) An act or failure to act by a perpetrator which causes nonaccidental serious
mental injury to or sexual abuse or sexual exploitation of a child under 18 years of age.
(iii) Any recent act, failure to act or series of such acts or failures to act by a
perpetrator which creates an imminent risk of serious physical injury to or sexual abuse
or sexual exploitation of a child under 18 years of age.
(iv) Serious physical neglect by a perpetrator constituting prolonged or repeated lack
of supervision or the failure to provide essentials of life, including adequate medical
care, which endangers a child's life or development or impairs the child's functioning.
23 PA. CONS. STAT. § 6303(b).
2. On June 22, 2012, a jury convicted Sandusky on forty-five counts of child sexual abuse
involving ten boys over a period of fifteen years. Kevin Johnson, Sandusky Faces Life in Prison
After Conviction on 45 Charges, USA TODAY, June 22, 2012, available at http://www.usatoday.
com/news/nation/story/2012-06-22/sandusky-verdict/55768640/1.
3. On November 7, 2011, Pennsylvania arraigned two former Penn State officials in
Harrisburg on charges of perjury and failure to report suspected child abuse. Police express
shock at Penn State child abuse cover up, REUTERS, Nov. 7, 2011, http://www.reuters.com/article
/2011/1l/08/us-crime-coach-pennsylvania-idUSTRE7A42EX20111108.   University officials'
roles in failing to disclose child sexual abuse allegations against Sandusky are set forth in the
Freeh Report.  LOUIS J. FREEH, REPORT OF THE SPECIAL INVESTIGATIVE COUNSEL

235

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