By Laura Kennedy
After a string of questionable investigations into accusations of child abuse, including the case involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, a task force created by the Pennsylvania Legislature announced its recommendations Tuesday.
The Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection, formed in December 2011, released their recommendations based on a wide variety of cases, said Jason Kutulakis, member of the task force and senior partner at Abom & Kutulakis LLP.
While it would be unfair to say that it did not influence the board, Kutulakis said the Sandusky case was not the primary focus of the 11 member group. The task force looked at a variety of high profile cases, such as the issues surrounding the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and also spoke to parents of child abuse victims, he said.
The board calls for “sweeping changes,” and “essentially a complete [rewrite] of the Child Protective Services Law,” according to the recommendations.
The recommendations focus attention specifically on different definitions within the child abuse laws, Kutulakis said. The task force requires that many words such as “child abuse,” “perpetrators” and “mandatory reporters,” be looked at closely and redefined, according to the recommendations.
While sitting in the Senate listening to experts from across the state, the 11 members of the Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection kept two goals in mind.
“Our first requirement was to address the issue of mandated reporters,” Kutulakis said. “The secondary requirement was to re-instill public confidence in the child welfare system.”
Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of sexual abuse in late June and sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison in October.
Read Wednesday’s edition of The Daily Collegian for more details.