Bill Expands Mandatory Reporters in Child Abuse Cases
Sen. Mike Rose's amendment, which makes sexual abuse reporting mandatory for all adults, passes the Senate and moves on to the House.
The House will review a bill soon that seeks to expand those required to report suspected child physical or sexual abuse.
But while it requires a person over the age of 18 year old to report abuse, it only assigns misdemeanors for failing to report to professionals outlined in the original bill and those with direct contact with children, which has been expanded to include camp counselors and firefighters.
Sen. Mike Rose, R-Summerville, penned the amendment.
On Rose's Facebook page Thursday, he made a post about the amendment passing in the Senate.
"Glad to see this passed!" he wrote.
The amendment will make it so that "all persons whose duties require direct contact or supervision of children" and "a person, other than a minor" must report suspected sexual or physical abuse of a child. The original statute limited those required to report to a list of professions.
The new amendment provides a 24-hour, statewide and toll-free phone number to make reports.
The amendment also states a person, not outlined in the statute, "may not be adjudicated delinquent for failure to report." The statute keeps its stiff penalty for those with direct supervision of children for failing to report:
A person required to report a case of child abuse or neglect or a person required to perform any other function under this article who knowingly fails to do so, or a person who threatens or attempts to intimidate a witness is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.
These are the persons required to report under the current statute:
A physician, nurse, dentist, optometrist, medical examiner, or coroner, or an employee of a county medical examiner's or coroner's office, or any other medical, emergency medical services, mental health, or allied health professional, member of the clergy including a Christian Science Practitioner or religious healer, school teacher, counselor, principal, assistant principal, school attendance officer, social or public assistance worker, substance abuse treatment staff, or childcare worker in a childcare center or foster care facility, foster parent, police or law enforcement officer, juvenile justice worker, undertaker, funeral home director or employee of a funeral home, persons responsible for processing films, computer technician, judge, or a volunteer non-attorney guardian ad litem serving on behalf of the South Carolina Guardian Ad Litem Program
The passage comes just days after Charleston military college The Citadel and its president were hit with new lawsuits claiming they did not do their duty as state entities to protect children from alleged child predator Louis "Skip" ReVille.