Rep. Boyle Plans Legislation on Abuse Reporting

State Rep. Kevin Boyle

HARRISBURG, Nov. 9 – State Rep. Kevin Boyle today announced his plan to introduce legislation aimed at ensuring that people who witness the abuse of a child report it to the proper authorities.

 “In light of the alleged child sex abuse scandal at Pennsylvania State University, it is clear that a loophole exists in our law,” Boyle said. “My legislation would close that loophole by requiring those who are aware of the abuse to report it to law enforcement authorities, rather than simply following an in-house chain of command.”

Boyle’s legislation would change current law so that staff members of institutions must immediately notify a law enforcement official.

Current law only requires that the abuse be reported to the person in charge of the institution, school, facility or agency or the designated agent of the person in charge.

“The current system, coupled with the inaction of various individuals has failed the alleged victims in the Jerry Sandusky case,” Boyle said. “What’s even worse is that those who stood by and said nothing about the allegations have been cleared of any wrongdoing. My bill will hold people accountable for reporting such future instances to the proper authorities.”

26 thoughts on “Rep. Boyle Plans Legislation on Abuse Reporting

  1. It’s a shame it took such a horrible situation to come up with this bill. In this case we don’t even know the victims name. Sending all the survivors my prayers…………

  2. This is wonderful news, but isn’t it sad that we need a LAW to make someone try to save a child? It should be common sense and morality, and no need for anything else. What a sad and sorry state of affairs!

  3. This is very good news. Let’s see if he can get it off the floor into the law. Sincere best wishes for success, this will help.

  4. We have learned enough over the past two decades that when the reporting of sexual assault goes only up the chain of command in the organization – Church, University, Corporation or place of employment it is often met with disbelief, with denial, with cover-up, with intimidation and firing of the victim or with continuation of the victimization. Witnessing or experienciing of sexual assault whether of a child, date rape on campus, or in the workplace must be reported first to local authorities – police, child welfare authorities, get a lawyer if possible and as soon as posssible follow-up with a CERTIFIED letter. Even then, some police don’t take domestic violence as seriously as they should.


  5. Everyone please call AND email Rep. Ron Marsico’s office TODAY! A one sentence email saying you support 832 and 878. Call the office and state that you support 832 and 878. Even if you are from outside of PA. still make the call. Tell them the eyes of the nation are on Pa. and these bills must be put on the agenda for hearings. We ALL must work for the protection of children. As adults it is our responsibilty.
    Hon. Ron Marisco, Republican Chair, 717-783-2014 ,
    Do not be discouraged by Marsico’s email response -we must move these Bills out of committee! Call and email AGAIN today.

    1. Kathy, thanks for this information. I just e-mailed him and will post his response, if any. I do not live in PA so I am not holding my breath that he will even respond. Best wishes.

  6. This law is exactly what is needed. If people won’t do the right thing just because it is the right thing, then, hopefully, fear of prosecution will get them to do it. It won’t make me feel any better as a Catholic about the lack of morality of our priests, but at least it will make things safer for our children.

  7. Rep. Kevin Boyle:

    He graduated from Cardinal Dougherty High School in 1998 and from LaSalle University in 2002.

    William Sasso:

    He graduated from Cardinal Dougherty High School in 1965 and from LaSalle University in 1969.

    I ask you, who would you want in your corner, protecting the children of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from sexual abuse and predation?

    Way to go, Kevin and thanks for your compassion and concern for our children.

    Michael Skiendzielewski, Class 0f 1970, Cardinal Dougherty High School

  8. I have all too often seen the horrible aftermath of sexual abuse, the addictions, the psychological, emotional, and physical destruction initiated by those rotten people who took from us something we didn’t want to give away at such a young age. My own abusers were not only manipulative, but were also forceful when I tried to resist the advances and touching. On some of the worst occasions, the Catholic priest who abused me crushed one of my testicles in between his thumb and index finger because I threatened to tell my mother about the abuse. When I tried many times to pull away, he dug his fingers into my thighs and shoulders. When I begged him to stop, he only seemed to hurt me more. Everything I would ever dream to become before a man laid his hands on me was annihilated during that first time, and then the second time, and eventually the 50th time and more. For over twenty years, I walked this earth as a shell of a human being, constantly confused and distant, wandering around like a lost and empty soul. Those guys took it all from me.

    People wonder why it takes us years and even decades to come forward and speak about the abuse we went through as children. All you have to do is look at the riots on the campus of Penn State University to understand why we carry the guilt and shame. Who would believe us over a priest or a parent? Who would take our word over a legend or a teacher?

    Most people can’t understand the kind of pain I suffered as a child, because you only see the grown man that I am today. You don’t see that 7 year-old, or 10 year-old, or 14 year-old boy who was held down and raped. You can’t see those memories that I live with everyday, because you can’t see that hurt child inside of me. Those little boys you hear about on the news right now are mostly men today. We never had a chance to be kids, because we were taught, or we were forced, to submit to sexual situations that should be reserved for consenting adults. I can’t provide you with a videotape of my nightmares, but I can tell you about these men killing me in the middle of the night. I can tell you about the fear during a panic attack and the feeling that the abuse is, once again, imminent. I can tell you about not wanting to go to school and telling the nurse I was sick everyday, so I wouldn’t have to be abused. They thought I was faking sick, but how would you feel if you knew that at some point in that day a grown man, a Catholic priest was going to rape you again in the boy’s bathroom? How nauseated do you think you might be having to think about performing oral sex on your Religion teacher?

    To most people I have interacted with, they are usually sickened by the gross sexual acts I was forced to do with these men everyday, but yet the more I try to explain about what happened to me in the hopes it stops happening, the more it seems we have to wait for a smoking gun before people stand up to fight. Just imagine for one second that what I just wrote that happened to me is what is happening to your own child or grandchild. How would that make you feel?

    For many years I have wished that my abusers would’ve just killed me. They would’ve saved me so much self-hate, shame, guilt, confusion and despair. I’m too much of a wuss to off myself, so sometimes I think it would’ve just been easier and made more sense if one of my abusers had the balls to just break my neck. That’s what abuse does to a kid!

    1. @Victims4Justice-I have been thinking about you and praying for you and all the other victims of child sexual abuse this week. I know you face your nightmares daily but it seems like all of this news this week and the release of another grand jury report would have magnified that pain for you. I am so sorry.

  9. I’m sure most of you here who have read this grand jury report involving Penn State have been having the same reaction that I have had this week. There is no way this abuse only began in 1998 or 1994-the earliest year I have heard mentioned-when Jerry Sandusky founded Second Mile in 1977. It seems so obvious that this man began his charity with ulterior motives-so that he might have easier access to the children he sought as his victims. That said, there could be many more victims of Sandusky that never came forward and if they did-their claims would not lead to additional charges because the SOLs would have expired. As much as I have listened to national talk radio this week-which I never do-since they seemed to be the only ones giving this scandal adequate coverage-I have not heard anything about the possibility of older victims. Has anyone here? Sandusky coached at PSU for 33 years and this abuse only started happening 13 -possibly 16 years ago? I don’t believe it. My hope and prayer is with the Feds investigating older, earlier victims might come forward and with this case in the national spotlight-a greater awareness of the need to overturn the SOLs will also receive the national spotlight.

    Another thing I keep thinking about today is that someone at Second Mile MUST have known about Sandusky’s “inappropriate behavior” and if Second Mile was notified as I thought I read in the report -why was Sandusky still involved with them until 2010?

    The idea that Sandusky founded Second Mile as a means to groom his victims is very similar to the scandal involving Fr Bruce Ritter who had founded Covenant House. Ritter technically was not a pedophile because his targets were always young men over 18. He was so shrewd he founded the first national program to help young people up to the age of 21. Everyone thought he was so wonderful because his program was filling a need for those young people who aged out of social services at 18 and had nowhere else to go when in reality he was creating the perfect cover for himself.

    Someone here already mentioned this but I kept thinking Wed PM when Paterno and Spanier were fired is -Why isn’t there a lay Board of Trustees for the RCC? I just keep praying that all the outrage directed at Penn State, will lead to renewed outrage toward the leadership of the Catholic Church.

    1. The sad fact is Sandusky has 6 adopted kids and grandkids ………I hope nothing happened to them ……………this might go way back.

  10. “national talk radio” should have read “national SPORTS talk radio” The sports stations were the only ones giving this due coverage.

  11. Everyone,

    I feel lost, dangling, kind of disconnected…

    Considering the stunning events over the last few days– Penn State, the email from Marsico’s office, Boyle’s proposal, etc.– how have they affected the original efforts of this blog, and have they, at all, changed the efforts of this blog?

    I used to know what I was thinking and doing, here. It’s unclear to me, now.


    1. Hadit, take a deep breathe, please. Overall, this week’s chaotic developments are mostly beneficial. Much of the world is now paying attention to child sexual abuse and to institutional cover-ups. Perhaps, stepping back for a few days might help. You can then tackle these positive developments with a refreshed vigor.

    2. Susan, I experienced those exact same feelings when the indictment against Finn and the diocese was announced here in KC. I was relieved and happy but also stunned. It was like I could take a few days off and rest… but it didn’t last, of course, and I was right back at it after about a week. This is a huge thing that has happened with Paterno and the world is watching. I will predict that there will be fallout from other schools, especially the RCC ones. We are seeing the tip of the iceberg and all of the ice is headed towards Rome. Your blog, which is excellent, is very much needed. You are at the center of an explosion. There will be some fallout. What you are feeling is normal.

  12. hadit -So much has been going on the past few days we have hardly had time to even comment on the site. Don’t give up,we are forging ahead stronger than ever with more people and support joining our efforts each day. It is an absolutley horrible time in Pa. and these last few days have been extremely difficult but I have to believe we will make positive changes for children -I know we will.

      1. Hadit and Joan– pay no attention to the ” it’s unconstitutional” baloney. Most constitutional provisions are vague and general, e.g. “due process of law”. When politicians have no real argument, they often use “unconstitutional” to create a smokescreen.

        In any event, if you have the votes, legislatures can pass any law. It is then up to someone challenging it in court and the courts decide. If courts decide wrongly, you can amend the constitution.

        When enough public pressure builds, as it is now because of Penn State, politicians will change the law. Believe me.

        We need to focus on the simple directive to politicians–pass the laws needed to protect kids and give victims a shot at some justice. Let wealthy bishops protect themselves.

  13. Sad to say, The Church continues to show no interest in the protection of children opting instead to focus on abortion and gay marriage. Here’s an excerpt from an article in today’s NCR:

    “There is widespread unease that the bishops are losing ground in the culture wars, including rising support — especially among Catholics — for same-sex marriage, and the erosion of conscience protections on abortion and contraception.
    In addition to the new religious freedom panel, the conference also hired two full-time staffers to oversee the effort, and tapped their top lawyer, Anthony R. Picarello Jr., to shape the bishops’ approach to “policy and advocacy.”
    “He’s a tough, smart young lawyer,” said Shaw. “He’s very, very prepared, I know, to fight this out, as long as it takes, and is kind of looking forward to the fight, as a matter of fact.”
    Church insiders say the hierarchy’s internal political dynamics are driving the new, narrow focus.
    For one thing, the bishops badly want to move beyond the sexual abuse crisis that has sapped their energies and credibility over the past decade. They seem especially eager not to get drawn into the recent indictment of Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn for failing to report a priest suspected of child abuse to police.
    “What happens in Kansas City stays in Kansas City,” is how a priest who works closely with the bishops put it.
    Moreover, the bishops are too divided to produce landmark documents on war and the economy as they did in the 1980s, insiders say. Opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion are simple, black-and-white issues that all the bishops can get behind.”

    1. Charles, please read my strong comment to this NCR article you quote from.. The author worked many years for the bishops in DC and often reflects their views. NCR doesn’t usually post comments between Fri. pm and Monday am, so my comment will not likely be published until Mon am. Unfortunately, it may be necessary to bankrupt more dioceses and lock up some bishops before they will begin to change. Hence, the importance of the Lynn prosecution for the entire US Church.

      1. Charles, on further checking, it is unclear if the author actually worked directly for the bishops. It is clear that he has had a long time close working relationship with the bishops and appears to have benefitted therefrom. He has been challenged by some informed Catholics on an “elite” Catholic as being, in effect, too prone to take the bishops’ side.

  14. Rep. Kevin Boyle was interviewed on NBC nightly news regarding his proposal to extend the mandatory reporting requirement. It was great to see a young elected State representative taking a courageous stand for the protection of our children.

    I wonder if Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Ron Marsico, saw the news report?

    If anyone knows how to access this short video on NBC news and download it, it would be beneficial to share via e-mail with a wider audience to garner support for our efforts, particularly in reference to HB 832 and 878.

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