Miller Renews his Request of Chairman Kline to Investigate Child Abuse Reporting Laws in Light of Sandusky Verdict and New Cases of Abuse
WASHINGTON – In light of newly publicized cases of child sexual abuse and the guilty verdicts in the Jerry Sandusky abuse scandal, U.S. Rep. George Miller (D – Calif.), the senior Democrat on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, sent a letter to Chairman John Kline (R – Minn.), again requesting him to engage the committee to thoroughly examine whether laws adequately keep children safe from abuse.
Miller made a similar request in November on the heels of reports of sexual abuse by Pennsylvania State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky and events at The Citadel. No formal response to either request nor committee action has occurred to date.
“Friday’s conviction of former Pennsylvania State University football coach Jerry Sandusky reminds us of our committee’s responsibility to ensure our nation’s laws adequately protect children from abuse. Crimes like those at issue in the Sandusky case expose weaknesses in child abuse reporting laws, especially when it comes to educational institutions, where children spend much of their lives,” Miller wrote to Chairman Kline. “Protecting children should not be a partisan issue. We all have a moral obligation to speak for child abuse victims who are unable to speak for themselves.”
Today, Committee Republicans rejected Democratic efforts to require the committee to examine child abuse reporting laws in the remaining days of this Congress. An amendment offered by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D – N.Y.) today to a report on the committee’s activities would have required the panel to conduct oversight of our nation’s child abuse laws, and hold a hearing to investigate potential flaws in these laws and evaluate whether a legislative solution is appropriate. Republicans rejected the amendment by an 18-19 vote.
“Stopping child abuse is a shared moral, imperative and is certainly not a partisan issue,” said Rep. McCarthy. “Collectively, we must work to protect victims who are too young to speak for themselves and to protect themselves.”
The letter also highlights another recently publicized case of alleged child abuse, involving employees at Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles, Calif., which underscores potential deficiencies in how schools investigate and resolve allegations of abuse against children. These cases are consistent with findings in a Government Accountability Office report from 2010, which found that hiring and firing practices in elementary and secondary schools can lead to sexual predators being allowed to re-offend at new schools.
The full text of the letter to Chairman Kline can be found here.
The GAO report on sexual predators can be found here