MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Even with all we knew about the disaster at Penn State and the accusations against Jerry Sandusky, the report released Thursday came like a blow to the gut.
“The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized,” said Louis Freeh, who authored the report.
But how do we know who is required to report abuse?
Miriam Maples trains mandatory child abuse reporters on their duties for CornerHouse, a nonprofit that interviews abuse victims. The Minnesota statute says anyone working in the healing arts — such as doctors — child care or education must report abuse.
“Coaches in Minnesota statues are not specifically named as mandated reporters,” Maples said. “But many coaches are teachers.”
Would a college professor be mandated?
“I would argue yes,” Maples said.
Clergy must report child abuse, except if it’s a confession.
Maples also said social workers, foster parents, therapists and counselors must report abuse.
If there’s one victim, the abuse must have happened within the prior three years. If there’s more than one victim, the window is 10 years.
Mandatory reporters don’t have to have to be a firsthand witness or have investigated for proof.
“It’s reason to believe, knowledge or reason to be concerned,” Maples said. “So you don’t have to have evidence.”
The law requires an immediate report to either social services or law enforcement. That call has to be followed up by a written report within 72 hours.
Of course, anyone can voluntarily report suspicions of abuse.
All of us have the ability and the responsibility to protect children, Maples said.