Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee says enough is enough!!!! The report is frightening and she will introduce the Keep Our Children Safe and Prevent Sexual Abuse Act of 2012
Washington, DC – Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a Senior Member of the House Judiciary Committee, released the following statement regarding the stinging report released be former Director of the FBI Louis Freeh regarding the culpability of Penn State in the Jerry Sandusky child abuse case:
“Director Freeh’s report pains my heart for the lack of attention given to those innocent boys who out of fear, hurt and devastation could not speak for themselves. America must now begin to listen to all the children who suffer from any form of sexual abuse cases that continue to permeate our country. The officials at Penn state must be held accountable for these heinous acts against our children and this must not be tolerated ever again, especially at an institution of Higher Learning.
“This report said that the board did not perform its necessary oversight duties in the case, which allowed senior university officials, to conceal Sandusky’s activities. This is unacceptable.
“As Co-Chair of the Congressional Children’s Caucus, I work diligently to bring attention to the interests of children, and to ensure that they are considered as Congress moves to enact laws across many different areas and industries. The incident at Penn State University is a very unfortunate situation. Much of the legislation that we face on a day to day basis can have a direct or indirect affect on children. The issue of non-profits and other entities that deal with children should be addressed when it comes to child sexual abuse.
“I will soon be introducing legislation that will immediately suspend and stop all federal funds being received by institutions, employees or any other entities where sexual abuse of children is not immediately reported. This legislation will of course exempt any funding going directly to students such as Pell Grants etc.
“While principal responsibility for addressing child sexual abuse rests with states and local governments, the federal government does play an important supporting role. In 1974, Congress enacted the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, establishing the legal framework for current federal efforts which focus on data collection and technical assistance to states. The issues surrounding children are ever changing, and it is paramount that we stay current to ensure that policies intended to protect and benefit children, do in fact achieve their purpose.
“Because children need adults in order to receive protection from child sexual abuse and neglect, it is thereby imperative that anyone who works with children receives the training they need to identify evidence of child sexual abuse and neglect. Under Pennsylvania law, everyone is encouraged to report child sexual abuse; however, individuals who work with children are required to report child sexual abuse.
“The failure of top university officials to act on reports of Mr. Sandusky’s alleged sexual misconduct, even after it was reported to them in graphic detail by an eyewitness, possibly allowed a predator to walk free for years – continuing to target new victims. Equally disturbing is the lack of action and apparent lack of concern among those same officials, and others who received information about this case, who either avoided asking difficult questions or chose to look the other way. My legislation will hopefully put an end to situations like this.
“Individuals who work with children need the appropriate training to detect and report evidence of child sexual abuse. These individuals form the first line of defense for children who do not have a voice in an adult world. Non profits who receive federal funds should receive additional funding for training on how to identify evidence of child sexual abuse and mandatory reporting procedures. As these persons have an authoritative relationship with the very children that we as a society hope to protect.”