Nearly 13 months after Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted on dozens of counts of child abuse crimes, Connecticut’s governor has signed a law that will impose criminal penalties on those who fail to bring allegations of such crimes to public light.
A bill signed Friday by Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, calls for certain people who are already required to report child abuse (such as school employees and police officers) to face up to one year in jail for failing to report such abuse to the state. Under current law, people who do that face a fine of up to $2,500.
The measure also creates a new crime that makes it a felony to prevent those mandated reporters from telling the state about suspected abuse. People who interfere with that reporting could face up to five years in a state prison.
Anna Doroghazi, with Connecticut’s Sexual Assault Crisis Service, told lawmakers earlier this year that the new punishments are necessary in light of the Penn State scandal and alleged abuses within the Catholic Church that went unreported for years.
Penn State faced significant criticism after Sandusky’s conviction after an investigative report argued that at least four school officials knew of the assistant coach’s behavior but did not report it. Two of those officials are facing criminal charges in Pennsylvania for failing to do so.
In the wake of the scandal, multiple state legislatures considered bills this year that would have increased penalties for mandated reporters who fail to do their jobs.