Missouri AG wants tougher laws on reporting abuse

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri lawmakers should toughen the state’s requirements on reporting the sexual abuse of children, state Attorney General Chris Koster said.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/t3lvGe) that Koster wants Missouri to join 18 other states that require everyone to report suspected abuse or neglect of children. Right now, only certain professionals, such as teachers or physicians, are required to do so.

Koster said in a recent statement that the allegations of sex abuse at Penn State highlight nationwide disparities in how state laws handle reporting child sexual abuse.

“If a citizen walks in on the sexual abuse of a child, his duty as a citizen should be clear. We are all mandatory reporters,” Koster said.

But others say lawmakers should be cautious about drafting legislation in response to a specific situation. Their concern is that adding mandatory reporters could mean including people who can’t distinguish between abuse, neglect and more benign behavior.

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Information from: Columbia Daily Tribune, http://www.columbiatribune.com

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