Law Offices of Jess C. Bedore III - Certified Specialist in Criminal Law
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California citizens lobbying for new sex crimes law

A father and daughter in California are pushing for a new law that would make it a felony for any adult who fails to alert authorities after a child has told him or her about being sexually abused, or about any other type of sexual conduct with a minor.

The duo hope that the institution of a new law will help sexually abused children in California and elsewhere feel more comfortable in telling adults and, in return, the adult will tell authorities. If the law is successful, any person who is convicted under this law would spend up to five years in jail and must be listed as a registered sex offender.

This is an interesting proposal in that the accused person would be considered a sex offender although they did not participate in any act of abuse. Rather, they heard about the abuse, and did not necessary know whether the claim was valid.

Currently, in California there are many people who are mandated to report possible sex crimes against children, but not all adults are required to do this. Teachers, youth center and camp employees, daycare employees, physicians, clergy, film processors and others are on this list.

The daughter is hopeful this action will act as a deterrent to adults who choose not to report suspected cases of abuse. The two were motivated to push for the law in light of the recent alleged scandals at scandals at Penn State, Syracuse University and other schools. The daughter also has claimed to be a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of her stepfather. He was acquitted of the charges by a jury in the 1990s.

The two are in the very early stages of pushing for this law. The federal legislation would be called Aarika's Law to protect child victims of sex crimes, according to a news report.

Source: NBC, "Fighting for victims rights," Nov. 28, 2011

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