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Ferman: Strengthen Child Sex Abuse Reporting Law
As more information comes out about the Penn State child sex abuse scandal, Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Ferman (pictured here) says the law requiring people to report sex crimes against children to their supervisors is not enough. She says it should be strengthened to require both individual and institutional reporting of such crimes in the workplace.
“This is not instead of. It’s in addition to. There are reasons, I am sure, that the law was enacted that requires institutional reporting, but at the same time individuals should have the responsibility to protect kids. We’re here as adults to protect children, not just our own but everybody’s, and if we see a child being harmed, if we are aware of a child being harmed, it seems to me we have not just the moral obligation, but we should have the legal obligation to do something about it.”
She says cases where a predator pulls a child off a playground are rare, and the molester is usually someone the child knows.
“Whether it’s relatives, teachers, coaches or just someone in a position of authority, there’s a process by which these predators, who are extremely manipulative, take advantage of the child, groom the child to get them used to the idea, and they don’t start off with a sexual act. It culminates with a sexual act.”
Ferman says if people talk more about child sex abuse, instead of treating it as taboo, it increases the likelihood that the crimes will be reported and people will be held accountable. She appeared Monday on the WNPV talk program Comment Please by Univest.