.

Jacobs Calls For Penalty For Failing to Report Child Abuse

Bill makes it a misdemeanor to not report suspected child abuse cases punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail.

Failing to report suspected cases of child abuse could carry a fine and criminal penalties under a bill sponsored by state Sen. Nancy Jacobs.

Jacobs' bill would make failure to report suspected child abuse or neglect a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $1000 or a year in jail.

"We have a really good reporting law here in Maryland—practically everybody has to report in Maryland—but what we need is some teeth to that," Jacobs said. "We don't want to have what happened at Penn State ... happen here."

The bill, which was scheduled for a hearing Wednesday afternoon, comes on the heels of the Penn State University , a defensive coach for the school's football team, is accused of abusing children. A grand jury report found that members of the staff reported allegedly witnessing some children being abused, but reported it only to head coach , rather than to police.

Current state law requires health care professionals, police officers, educators, and human service workers to report any case of suspected child abuse or neglect.

Maryland is one of only three states that does not impose a criminal penalty for failing to report cases of suspected child abuse or neglect.

Adam Rosenberg, executive director of the Baltimore Child Abuse Center, said the law is needed.

The Baltimore-based nonprofit provides medical treatment and crisis counseling to victims of child abuse. Rosenberg said the center is on pace to handle nearly 1,000 cases of sexual abuse of children this year.

"We're not able to do our job unless the public and the mandated reporters do their jobs," Rosenberg said. "All too often, in the cases we see at the center and that I saw as a prosecutor, people did not report abuse."

Robyn Eisner February 08, 2012 at 09:56 PM
Way to go Nancy Jacobs! Unfortunately for a boy in our community in Bel Air, reporting suspicious behavior came a little too late causing a tragedy this past January 9th. We will support this all the way! Robyn Eisner
CB9678 February 09, 2012 at 01:18 AM
I disagree with this. As the article correctly points out we have alot of mandated reporters. In MD Joe Paterno would have been a mandated reporter. The misdemeanor penelty is nothing compared to the loss of liscence and therfore lively hood faced by the mandatory reporters. This is essentially reduntant.
Tom Barnes February 09, 2012 at 10:52 AM
A waste of taxpayer money when there is already a law regarding reporting. Who is going to pay for the investigations and the increase in staffing in order TO investigate? How about something with teeth? Like actually punishing - and followign through COMPLETELY on - child abusers and also forcing the courts to follow through on TPR federal reg's on bad parents instead of giving them their kids back. Now THAT'S a concept.. (TPR = termination of parental rights)
Kai February 09, 2012 at 03:18 PM
How will the 'reporter' of abuse be protected from retaliation? Let's say it is a neighbor who reports the abuse. They still need to go home safely every night.
jack friese February 10, 2012 at 07:04 PM
My 3 yr old son has been in foster care since Oct 2008. He has been in four foster care homes. He has been sexually, physically and emotionally abused. I have reported the abuse and the mandated parties, including his lawyer, the social worker, Secretary Dallas, Dr. Branch, Judith Schagrin, Deborah Barr and his state appointed lawyer are in a conspiracy to cover up this abuse. The inspectors general for HHR and DHMH, the social workers oversight review board and the citizens review board are part of this cover up. I would hope that Senator Jacobs. Judiciary committee launch an investigation of CINA 080000299. It is lamentable that the very agency that is supposed to protect foster care kids are up to their neck in a cover up that goes to the door of Ted Dallas and Governor O'Malley's office. This is a broken, corrupt, bloated and wasteful State agency that needs a top to bottom review by the OLA and our legislators in Annapolis.
Buzz Beeler February 11, 2012 at 04:53 PM
There is as famous line in the movie "All The Presidents Men," that dealt with a story about to be written. The line went, "Just make sure you're right." I also totally agree with Jack. The focus should be fixing what is broken and that includes the lives of the victims. In this case it was too late even when the cops knew they had their man. They were planning on indicting the suspect. Too little too late. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2096946/Susan-Powell-Sons-missing-woman-killed-father-Josh-gas-blast.html
Paul Amirault February 11, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Government is like a big long train, it takes a long time to get it up to speed, and then a long time to get it to stop. Absurdity in motion.
Buzz Beeler February 11, 2012 at 08:18 PM
The system fails once. http://www2.citypaper.com/news/story.asp?id=11824 They system fails twice. http://blog.amnestyusa.org/women/failing-to-protect-women-from-domestic-violence- in-the-us/ The system fails three times. http://www.welfareacademy.org/pubs/childwelfare/childprotectionservice_94.pdf This is a cautionary tale, one of many where even the pros got it wrong. It's worth reading. http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/mcmartin/mcmartinaccount.html
Ken j. Bower February 12, 2012 at 08:36 PM
The problem with reporting any kind of crime is the fear and backlash associated with the reporting as well as geting people to believe what one says....The Government System makes things worst with all the cover-ups and bull that often prevent the truth from going forward....Until the system is changed and quicker action is taken on all fronts, This new law could simply cause more problems than it solves....

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