Reilly Calls for Higher Penalties for Not Reporting Abuse [Boston MA]
March 12, 2003

BOSTON (AP) Those who fail in their obligation to report child abuse could be fined up to $25,000 and jailed for 2{ years under legislation championed Wednesday by Attorney General Tom Reilly.

The bill, drafted by Reilly and sponsored by Sen. Therese Murray, D-Plymouth, would apply to people who are mandated to report child abuse under state law, including teachers, social workers, physicians, foster parents, police officers, firefighters and other professionals.

The clergy was added to the list following last year's revelations of sex abuse by priests.

Currently, the maximum penalty for not reporting abuse is a $1,000 fine. The proposed bill would give judges the discretion to impose a fine of up to $25,000, as well as a jail sentence.

"The legislation puts some teeth into the current law and forces those with knowledge of crimes against children to come forward," Reilly said. "Most people do what is right, but those who chose not to report the abuse of children need to know there are consequences and those consequences are harsh."

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