Mo. panel on child sex abuse releases report

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri task force that spent a year studying ways to prevent child sexual abuse is offering 22 recommendations to the governor, lawmakers and the State Board of Education.

The panel created by a 2011 state law included legislators, law enforcement officers, children’s advocates and other experts.

In a report released Thursday, the task force recommends changing Missouri law to require that people legally obligated to report suspected abuse contact the state’s Children’s Division directly. The existing law allows so-called mandatory reporters to notify someone in their own organizations.

The panel also recommends eliminating the statute of limitations for prosecuting first-degree statutory rape and statutory sodomy.

Other ideas include improved mental health services for children who have been abused and who have demonstrated inappropriate sexual behavior.

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