Saturday, May 18, 2013
Penn State Scandal Raises Questions About Mandatory Reporting Laws
In Alaska, only people working in certain positions of authority are required by law to report allegations of child abuse.
Penn State's head football coach Joe Paterno has come under fire for not doing more after he received a report nearly a decade ago of alleged sexual abuse of a child involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.
Paterno reported the alleged abuse to school officials but not to police, and many people are wondering why he didn’t.
“It is surprising because we have laws in place to help provide protection for children. In a similar situation there should have been some report to an official capacity,” said Kim Guay, a child welfare administrator with the Alaska Office of Children’s Services.
Here in Alaska, only people working in positions of authority, like teachers, child care providers, and employees who provide counseling or treatment are required by law to report allegations of child abuse.
Anyone outside of this group is not required to tell the police, but officers say it doesn't mean it's okay to stay quiet.
“Morally, obviously people should report any type of child abuse that they see, regardless of whether they are mandated or not,” said Anchorage police spokesman Lt. Dave Parker.
Anchorage police say the only way to stop abuse is to say something when you see it.