After Penn State scandal, Mikulski to convene hearing on child abuse

With the aftershocks of the alleged molestation scandal at Penn State University still reverberating, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) said Monday she planned to convene a Senate hearing on “how well our nation is protecting children from child abuse and neglect.”

Mikulski chairs the Senate Health Education and Labor panel’s Subcommittee on Children and Families, and she will convene the hearing — scheduled for Dec. 13 — in response to a request from Sen. Robert Casey (D-Pa.).

“Despite so many federal, state, and local efforts, sexual abuse is still a reality for too many children,” Mikulski wrote in a letter to Casey informing him of the hearing. “It is my hope that a hearing on this subject will help shed some light on the prevention, protection, intervention, and deterrence of child sexual abuse.”

Before entering public office, Mikulski noted, she was a social worker in Baltimore, “helping at-risk and abused and neglected children.”

Specifically, the hearing next month will “examine existing gaps in our system and examine proposals to improve reporting requirements” for abuse allegations. Pennsylvania is not one of the 18 states that require all adults inform authorities of suspected child abuse, according to the Associated Press.

In the Penn State case, university police or university officials were informed of allegations against former coach Jerry Sandusky at least twice, in 1998 and 2002, well before the story and the investigations became public.

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