Mandatory child sex abuse reporting law not dead in South Carolina

Rep. Peter McCoy (R-Chas) filed a bill requiring everyone in the state to report child sex abuse. (Brandon Geier/WCIV)

By Natalie

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - One of the governor's priorities next legislative session would strengthen the laws of reporting child sex abuse in the state.

Rob Godfrey, Governor Nikki Haley's spokesman, said this in a statement:

"While we trust SLED's ability to investigate matters like this, what happened at The Citadel is shameful. Sexual abuse will not be tolerated in South Carolina, and the governor, a mother of two, wants to see the General Assembly make strengthening laws like those that require people to report sexual abuse a priority next session so this never happens in our state again."

Late last year, Representative Peter McCoy (R-Charleston) filed a bill requiring everyone in the state to report child sex abuse. Currently, only certain people are required, including firefighters and police officers.

"What I mean by mandatory reporting, is anybody on the street. Anybody who has first hand knowledge of child sexual abuse and basically that it's occurred would have to report it," Rep. McCoy said.

McCoy says the bill was sent to the Judiciary Committee but never had a hearing, due to time constraints. He says if he's re-elected this year, he will re-file the bill.

Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell says he supports the bill and he's confident it will be back next session.

"It's not a partisan bill. It's not a republican bill. It's not a democratic bill. Everyone wants to be on board and there's no real reason why this bill shouldn't see some movement," Rep. McCoy said.

The move came last year following the arrests of former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky and former The Citadel summer camp counselor Louis 'Skip' ReVille for allegations of child sex abuse. Both have since been convicted of child sex crimes. At both institutions, allegations of child sex abuse were not reported to law enforcement.

Last October, The Citadel leaders divulged information about their internal investigation into the allegations made by a camper in 2007. School leaders say they were not required by law to report the allegation to law enforcement but its president Lt. General John Rosa said they should have done more.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures approximately 105 bills in 30 states and the District of Columbia have been introduced in the 2012 legislative session on the reporting of suspected child abuse and neglect. NCSL's website says 10 of those states have enacted legislation.

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