Missouri advances bill to crack down on child sexual assault
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) - A Missouri bill aimed at cracking down on child sex abuse has earned initial Senate approval.
Senators in a voice vote Tuesday supported legislation to increase the reporting and responses to allegations of children who sexually assault other minors.
The measure would require the state Children's Division to report claims of sex abuse between two children to local authorities. Those agencies then must assess the situation and potentially investigate the claims.
The bill is sponsored by Republican Sen. Jeanie Riddle, of Callaway County. She hopes the bill causes officials to intervene and prevent a pattern of lifelong assault among abusers.
Some Democratic opponents raised concerns about labeling children as sexual assailants.
A second Senate vote is needed before the bill can move to the House.