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New Legislation Would Make it A Crime to Not Report Sexual Abuse to Proper Authorities

State Representative Dan Deasy (D-Allegheny County) plans to introduce legislation that would make it mandatory for anyone who witnesses or is told by a direct witness of a sexual crime against a child to report it to the proper authorities.

"Currently it only affects teachers and certain professionals. This change would make it so that anybody who witnessed it would be required to report such actions to law enforcement," said Deasy.

The bill is in response to the situation at Penn State, but Deasy said that closing loopholes in the current mandatory reporting law has been needed for years.

"It's something that's slipped through the cracks over the years. Hopefully we can get some bi-partisan support and address it," he said.

If passed, failure to report child abuse to law enforcement could result in a third-degree felony charge, which carries a sentence of up to seven years in jail. The bill is currently being drafted, and Deasy said that he hopes to introduce it as soon as possible.