Senator Kip Bateman’s legislation requiring witnesses of child sexual abuse to notify law enforcement officials has passed the Senate Education Committee.
Sen. Kip Bateman’s legislation requiring witnesses of child sexual abuse to notify law enforcement officials has passed the Senate Education Committee. (Flickr)
“It is nauseating when adults know that child abuse is occurring, yet they fail in their moral duty to take the appropriate steps to end it,” Bateman (R-16) stated. “This legislation requires witnesses to notify law enforcement authorities of these obscene violations immediately. This is crucial to keep our children safe in school.”
Bateman’s bipartisan bill, S-641, requires that sexual abuse against a child be directly reported to law enforcement officials. He originally introduced said legislation in 2011 in the wake of the Penn State football scandal.
Recent attention was brought to the legislation when multiple videos were made public of top New Jersey teacher union officials discussing their efforts and willingness to conceal teacher sexual misconduct.
Current law mandates that any person with reasonable cause to believe child abuse is occurring must notify the Division of Child Protection.
Bateman’s legislation would require a witness to immediately report the act to law enforcement officials. It also makes failing to report an act of sexual abuse a crime of the fourth degree.
A crime of the fourth degree is punishable by a term of imprisonment of three to five years and a fine of no more than $15,000, or both.
“From what we saw at Penn State to what we saw in the recent videos, it’s clear that people don’t always do the right thing,” Bateman added. “Individuals shouldn’t think that it’s ok to not report child sexual abuse. I urge the State Senate to pass this bill immediately to safeguard our children.”
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