Boxer to introduce child-abuse reporting bills

This means you, Mike McQueary.

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., says she’ll introduce a pair of bills tomorrow that she says will protect children from abuse by strengthening federal and state reporting requirements so abuse is reported to local law enforcement or a child protective agency.

“To protect our children from violence and abuse, anyone who sees or knows about a crime against a child must report it to local authorities. Right now, the federal government and 32 states have no such requirement in law,” Boxer said in her news release.

Boxer’s bills – the State Child Protection Act and the Federal Child Protection Act –require that anyone who witnesses or has reasonable suspicion of a crime against a child must report it to local law enforcement or a child protective agency. Under the State Child Protection Act, states that fail to comply would lose some of their federal justice assistance grants. The Federal Child Protection Act would require all persons on federal property to report child abuse.

California does not have comprehensive reporting requirements for child abuse, Boxer noted.

McQueary, a Penn State assistant football coach, apparently did not contact police after witnessing the alleged rape of a 10-year-old boy by assistant coach Jerry Sandusky in an athletic facility shower in 2002.

UPDATE @ 3:48 P.M.: U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., today introduced a similar bill requiring all states to pass and enforce a law requiring all adults to report instances of known or suspected child abuse; Boxer is the bill’s co-sponsor. The main difference between Boxer’s bill and Casey’s bill is the specific funding the federal government would withhold from states that don’t comply: Boxer’s threatens to revoke part of a state’s Byrne Justice Assistance Grant funding from the Justice Department, while Casey’s would hold back funding through the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act administered by the Health and Human Services Department.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    This ill-advised piece of grandstanding will do next to nothing in protecting minors and quite possibly do a lot to enliven child-custody disputes. Legislation ripped from the headlines reflects no credit on the world’s greatest deliberative body.

  • Elwood

    If the US Senate is the “world’s greatest deliberative body” I’d hate to see whatever is second greatest.

  • Vickie Van Scyoc

    Thank goodness for some steps forward, this is so horrible, poor kids.

  • Roberta Fitzpatrick

    California (Section 3027 of the Family Code) legally sanctions child abuse by exempting judges from investigating when child abuse is alleged or known in a child custody dispute. Will these bills require judges in California to initiate an investigation when child abuse is alleged or known in a family law matter? If judges are not required to investigate and examine evidence the law will just be another collection of empty words.