A task force has released its recommendations on combatting sexual abuse of children in Missouri.
There are 22 recommendations in all. They include requiring people who are legally obligated to report sex abuse incidents to directly contact the state’s Children’s Division, instead of just reporting incidents to superiors within their own organizations. That particular recommendation will be sponsored by State Representative Marsha Haefner (R, Oakville).
“The failures that were witnessed as the story of continued abuse at Penn State unraveled could also happen in Missouri under our current law," Haefner said. "My proposed legislation...will put the responsibility of reporting directly on the mandated reporter.”
Other recommendations include removing the statute of limitations on first-degree statutory rape and statutory sodomy, and improving mental health services for kids who have been sexually abused and who’ve demonstrated sexually inappropriate behavior. State Senator Bob Dixon (R, Springfield) was also a member of the task force.
“A wake-up call has been sounded, a discussion has begun, and I believe this report is really truly a blueprint for action," Dixon told reporters Thursday at the State Capitol.
The panel created by a 2011 state law included legislators, law enforcement officers, children's advocates and other experts.
Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter: @MarshallGReport