Attorney General Seeks Support for New Child Abuse Law

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COLUMBIA - Attorney General Chris Koster announced his support Tuesday for a law that would make all Missouri residents mandatory reporters in cases of child abuse. 

Current Missouri law states only people in certain professions are required to report child abuse, such as those in the medical field, education, ministry and law enforcement.

According to Koster, as of April 2010, 18 other states had already adopted such laws. 

Koster will bring the legislation to the Missouri General Assembly in January when the session starts.

The legislation will have to make its way through the house and senate during the spring, but Koster said the law is non-partisan and he anticipates it will be on the governors' desk by next summer.

This call to action comes after the sexual abuse charges against former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky were filed, and many in that football program were aware of these alleged cases of abuse, but failed to properly report them.

"Under common law, and certainly in Missouri right now, there's no duty to report a crime. This is carving out an exception to that because it's so important when you're dealing with child molestation," said Bill Tackett, former Cole County Prosecutor. 

The Missouri Department of Social Services was unaware of this proposed legislation and did not wish to comment.