Legislative Panel May Investigate Child Abuse Laws

In the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal at Penn State, many lawmakers are calling for revisions to the state’s child abuse statutes.  There was talk on the House floor Thursday night of a forthcoming joint resolution that would create a bipartisan, bicameral panel to investigate which laws need strengthened and how.

“I’ve had conversations with the Governor, members of his administration, House leaders and Senate Democratic leaders about the bipartisan, bicameral approach to addressing the issues raised by the Penn State child abuse indictments,” Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi said in a statement.  “I am committed to a thoughtful process that produces stronger protections for children across the state.”    

House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody (D-Allegheny) released the following statement: “This commission will only succeed if it is truly independent and impartial.  In addition to the Judiciary Committee chairmen, it should include the chairs of the Children and Youth Committee.  The non-legislative members must not be involved in conducting the current criminal investigation, nor should the commission include anyone who was part of that investigation at any earlier point.  The commission needs the ability to subpoena witnesses so that it is empowered to find the truth.”

Earlier in the week, Governor Tom Corbett encouraged a “dispassionate” legislative response.  “I think we now have time to take a good look at this to take our time and do it right,” Corbett told a gaggle of reporters. 

Penn State and Nebraska players gathered in prayer prior to last Saturday's football game.